It happened so fast. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives seemingly overnight. We had the outbreak in China as an indicator months ago, but most of us thought it wouldn’t happen here. After all, we survived SARS and H1N1 without it impacting most Americans. Yet, here we are today social distancing, wearing masks and gloves and for the most part staying at home.
Sometime in February is when I remember hearing of some isolated cases of the coronavirus at hospitals around the country. Most of us still weren’t worried. Then the first coronavirus death in the United States was recorded on February 29th. Travel restrictions were issued and by March 3rd more than 90,000 around the globe were infected with the coronavirus. On March 13th the president declared a national emergency and on March 15th the CDC cautioned against gatherings of more than 50 people. Schools and restaurant dining rooms closed. Concerts and sporting events were cancelled.
Here at PinMart, pregnant employees and those with high risk factors for contracting the virus began working from home. On the morning of Friday March 20th, we were told that we should spend most of our time working from home, with only occasional trips to the office. By the end of the day we knew we would not be back in the office for at least a couple of weeks. The State of Illinois had issued a Stay at Home order.
Millions of others and I are fortunate to be able to do our work from home. Technology has allowed us to get very creative. Late night TV talk show hosts and meteorologists are even broadcasting from the home front.
However, many individuals doing the most important work to keep us going during this crisis are not able to do so from home. First responders, doctors, nurses and hospital staff are on the front lines risking their health to care for the sick. At PinMart, we honor these brave and selfless individuals everyday with our First Responder Pins and Nursing Pins.
Other essential workers are also finding themselves in a position of possible increased exposure. Grocery store clerks, truck drivers and fast food employees can’t do their jobs remotely, but their efforts are greatly needed to keep society safe and provided for during this unprecedented period.
Those of us fortunate enough to stay at home shouldn’t complain, we should feel blessed. Be thankful if you can shelter in place and keep a good thought for those who can’t.