On Wednesday, March 18, my daughter Lauren and I started our self-quarantine against the coronavirus. Like most Bahamians and citizens around the world, it feels like we are being held hostage by an unseen enemy that has sent the economy of the world into a nosedive while killing thousands of people.
We awoke as if it was a normal day, had breakfast and watched the news. We had lunch, watched television and proceeded through our typical routine. It seemed like any other day, but it immediately took a precipitous turn when our prime minister announced our third case of the virus. Some Bahamians are fearing that the true count is higher. Both the chief medical officer and the deputy chief medical officer have suggested that as more testing is done, more cases will be confirmed.
From my vantage point, there was a sense of anxiety listening to the PM’s speech as he explained that he was bringing to Parliament regulations to introduce emergency powers in the event the situation worsened. As soon as he said that, I couldn’t help but feel that such an event was quickly approaching. Food store shelves are nearly depleted. Despite Minnis saying our food supplies are not in any danger, I sense that citizens are in a state of disbelief or denial that this is really happening to us.
My family in Canada are also in quarantine and they are scared out of their wits. My daughter lives in a condominium complex and two of the occupants have been infected with the virus. And yet, they are asking me if I have enough food. Lauren and I have about 14 days’ worth of food before we run out, so I am relying on that. I am also hopeful that the food stores will have food when our supply is exhausted.
Darville Wong Realty, my real estate business, has been brought to a standstill. It makes sense, of course. How many people are seriously looking to buy or rent homes now? I’ve instructed my agents not to come to the office. Thankfully, we implemented measures many years ago to ensure all agents could work from home, and I regularly encourage them to do so. Despite this, agents still regularly came to the office to deliver paperwork as well as for weekly staff training. However, Monday’s events brought all of this to a screeching halt.
I am especially worried about myself because I am a senior citizen. It is persons in my age group who are most susceptible to COVID-19. I feel great today, but I know that I must be careful. I also worry about my friends and family who are in the healthcare industry. My daughter in Colorado is a physician, so I pray daily that she remains safe.
We have been ravaged by hurricanes, but at least we know when they come and when they leave. No one knows when the coronavirus will leave us. No one knows how many Bahamians will become casualties of the virus. And no one knows how severely the Bahamian economy will be affected.
My friends, I encourage you to be patient and listen to the experts during these uncertain times. We must follow the instructions of our government and the healthcare professionals, and we must use our common sense to get us through this.
This is not the time to forget about the elderly and less fortunate in our society; lend a helping hand where you can. We all have bills that will not stop, and I am grateful that The Bahamas Water & Sewerage Corporation and BPL will not disconnect persons during this time. I trust the financial institutions will also be very lenient. Many don’t know when the next paycheck will come, so any spare cash we have must take us a long way. We may truly be in for a very bumpy ride.
Let us remain calm during these times. Good luck to us all.