This submission won the category of "Real World" Preparedness. This family has maintained life by adjusting daily life around circumstances outside their control and surrounded by the Covid 19 main infected area in the nation. A great example of having to adapt and overcome indeed.
Living in Target Zero
We’re, let’s say, “Joe & Jane” and we live in Jersey City and both work in Manhattan. I work as a Visual Merchandiser on the corporate level, whereas my wife, Jane, is an outpatient Oncology Nurse. On a typical day we would commute into the city, head home afterwards, maybe meet at a restaurant and finish with a show at home on Netflix or Hulu. You could probably consider me as an intermediate-prepper (probably ever since we moved up here from the South), and I’ve been a follower of HFS for a little over a year now.
As any decent prepper, I’m usually pretty aware of any top news, whether global or local, that could potentially upend our current lively hood. When I first started hearing about this thing being called The Coronavirus (probably December 2019), I was thinking that it could just be like the Bird Flu and wasn’t that concerned. Then it was getting highlighted more and more every day in every news headline even in January 2020.
Being slightly paranoid, I started following the hashtag “coronavirus” on social media… man, that made it worse! It clearly was more than what the news was saying. Towards the end of January, where I just got back from a work trip in Chicago, they had a confirmed case of Coronavirus in Chicago. That’s when I realized it was starting. I would start having discussions with my wife nightly about what it could mean for us, living in the target zone of Manhattan.
I’ve always thought, that one of the negatives living up here and working in the city, was Manhattan is always going to be a target for any major disaster or terrorist attack or powerplant explosion or even a so-called EMP attack. Who knew the next thing would have been a virus attack instead. I started reevaluating my so-called stockpiles (you can’t really fit that much in a NY apartment!). Feeling pretty good about my amounts, but still getting more paranoid, I bought a few more gallons of water, a few more canned and dry goods, etc. There was one HFS article that came at perfect timing too… it was this prepping list for either a go-bag or home essentials, I think. I looked at my inventory and used the list to checkoff anything I might have missed that might add value for the current situation including Cough meds, cough drops, basically anything for a major sickness like flu! This was about mid-February, as I remembered we had to go to a wedding in Louisiana.
Admittingly as the virus became more and more a discussion, we would make light of the situation by calling it, jokingly “the Wuhan”. Towards the end of February, I had a few work trips booked that quickly started getting cancelled because of fears of catching the virus. Again, I would reevaluate my on-hand supplies and order a few more things. Early March I had one more weeklong work trip in DC that I was allowed to go on because it was Driving and not Flying somewhere.
I had been seeing on social media where stores were getting depleted of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants. I was typically ordering items on Amazon so I checked the app to see if I could still order some of these things to only find very few options, when just the week before there were thousands to pick from. My wife called me from the hospital where she worked and said that everyone there was also talking about shortages and what we could do. I went ahead and ordered what I could at that point and headed to the nearest Walmart to see what they might have just to check. In my mind I was thinking this Walmart should have stuff because it was kind of in the middle of nowhere… I was wrong. The pharmacy sections were probably 50% depleted and the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants were nowhere to be found, only empty shelves and befuddled faces of customers.
From there I started informing friends and family to really get ahead of this and get serious as this was going to hit them too. I would have to tell them that it wasn’t me being crazy and paranoid, but that this is making everyone else crazy and paranoid and buying everything up, like the crazy toilet paper of all things!
Then I believe it was the second week of March the local news said that any group event over 50 people would get cancelled, including Broadway shows, sports events, and even limiting the amount of people in restaurants. This was odd for us, working in Manhattan, when you take the subway where you see and run into thousands of people every day. My wife and I would start to limit the amount of things we would have to touch on our commute… it’s really hard to not want to grab the subway rails to not fall when the train is going! Haha.
Getting more paranoid, I opted to drive to some local stores instead of commuting on the subway to the office. You could really see a depletion of customers in the stores. All that anyone could talk about was the Coronavirus and that it’s getting crazy. Coworkers in the city were talking about how the grocery stores were lines out the door and around the block to only getting inside to nothing on the shelves other than some produce. People were getting freaked out to the point where they didn’t feel like they should be in stores at all so that they wouldn’t catch the virus.
By the end of the week, there were rumors that our main office would ask us to work-from-home so that it could limit the contact on the subway trains. That weekend we met with friends and even were saying this could be the last we see of you guys for a while because of this whole Coronavirus thing! Sure enough, that Monday, local news announced the closing of nonessential businesses, bars, restaurants, but still allowing restaurants to allow takeout only. My office followed suit and closed the offices and issued a work-from-home order. My wife’s hospital office started cancelling clinics left and right and were trying to get nurses to be able to work from home on office call days. Clinic days were getting turned into “virtual visits”. My wife still had to go in about twice that week, and said it was getting eerie on the trains with only maybe 2-3 people per car when a “usual” day it would be so packed you could barely move. To be on the safe side she started taking Lysol to work and would spray herself down as soon as she would get to her office. We would do the same thing when she would come home.
By the end of that week (week 3 of March) she was able to work-from-home, something that the hospital said they would never be able to do prior to the virus. After a week of the start of the state’s quarantine you definitely start to get stir crazy. We started hearing how bad the cases were getting every day in both NYC and New Jersey. Reports were coming in daily how the numbers were just doubling each day. I read another HFS article about how states were letting prisoners out of jail to prevent a major outbreak in the prisons. This definitely wasn’t reassuring, but it made me realize we also needed to think about our protection going forward also. We made a point to make sure we stayed in as much as possible.
We have a dog, so basically it was the only time we stepped foot outside. When walking him, we would notice a lift in the amount of people we saw outside. All gyms had also been closed including ones in apartment buildings so people were finding new ways to stay fit by heading outside. This is great for people to get out while working from home, but wasn’t so great when there’s a new update for people to stay inside and if they go outside to keep 6 ft away. The quarantines got tighter and more strict, seems like daily.
On social media, restaurants were begging for business, and apparently they even lifted the open container law, allowing restaurants to offer alcohol-to-go. Some businesses set up go-fundme accounts. The only cars on the roads now are people driving to grocery stores, healthcare workers, uber eats, food deliveries, and truck deliveries. They’ve temporarily stopped issuing parking tickets for street parking. It’s becoming more of a norm to see everyone in a mask and gloves. I’ve checked every other day at the local grocery for toilet paper and still nothing available. Businesses that are still open are limiting the amount of people allowed inside. Amazon you can’t get anything next day “Prime” anymore… more like 2 weeks to 4 weeks out. Any greenspace around here is closed off by temporary gates and fences.
Week 3 of quarantine we started virtually visiting friends across the nation, which was new for us, but somewhat provided some satisfaction to all this chaos. During the quarantines we’ve thought what are we going to do if it gets worse. In a typical life threatening situation, if there is a “typical”… I would love to think we could just “bug out”.
This one’s different. My job is considered nonessential so we have to think I could get furloughed like everyone else, or even laid off. My wife is an Oncology Nurse so her job is