Here is an exchange of emails from a friend in New Jersey. It started when I sent an email asking her how she and her family were holding up. She responded and I asked if she would allow me to run it on New Bern Post.

Here is what I asked:

Thanks for the update. I wonder if you would let me post this on my website, I think it would be educational for our community leaders, who don’t seem to understand the severity of the problem that lies ahead over the next few weeks.

I could post it with or without identifying you (I would remove anything that could be traced back to you if you want anonymity). … With your permission, I would like to share your email with my readers in the hope that local leaders will take this situation more seriously. I have been religiously following a videoblog by Dr. John Campbell, a British nurse with a PhD who has been covering Covid-19 since January.

Based on Dr. Campbell’s research and other information I have come across, I have been blogging for local leaders to be more aggressive. Their typical response is that they are following state guidelines. I don’t think state guidelines are going to be effective. Their strategy is to take action when cases arise, whereas I think by then it is too late.

Having someone from New Jersey would be very illuminating.

Here is her response to my request:

Sure, Randy–use it if you think it’s helpful. Yes, I leave it to you to change names to protect the guilty. 😉

It’s interesting because here, too, officials waited waaaayyyy too long, and even when the word came down, people were flaunting the regulations. My daughter saw lots of images on social media of friends hanging out, etc. when social distancing was mandated. The school principal had to send a letter out to address it. (I can forward, if you like.) The last week or so people have started to take it more seriously. I do think it’s a cultural thing at least in part–Americans are just too attached to the value of individualism to recognize how important the social good is, especially at a time like this.

As crowded as we are in NJ and as many cases as we have now, the situation in NYC is nightmarish.

Here’s her original email, edited for privacy, from near the front line in the war against Covid-19:

Been more or less on lock-down for about 10 days. Kids are home-schooling and (my husband) and I are working from home. (Well, I’d been doing that anyway, but now I have lots of company!)

It is getting scary, though. We have many family members involved in health care and supplies are very short. (A relative is) a nurse, has had to save and re-use face masks. (Another relative) is a respiratory therapist at (a hospital) in NYC and has been assigned all their COVID patients.

Trying to just keep up with what we can, let go what we need to let go of. (Our daughter’s) 17th bday was last week and it was a total bust–she was to have taken her road test for her driver’s license (nope) and had dress rehearsal for the school musical (nope nope). Instead of hanging with her friends she got to spend loads of quality time with her family… every teenager’s dream bday. No prom, no Memorial day weekend at the beach… etc. Small potatoes in light of the big picture, but you know the big picture can be elusive for the average teen.

It is an odd sensation. Unlike 9/11 and Sandy, where there was very little lead time and huge consequences, we’ve had lots of lead time here and the consequences are still unfolding. It’s happening all around us, but the weather is so nice it’s downright surreal, and it’s hard to brace yourself for something you can’t see or touch or smell or… anything.  Also, post-Sandy and 9/11, people really rallied around each other, and some people are doing that now… but many others are too frightened for themselves to reach out to anyone else.

So that’s a little glimpse into life here right now. At times I feel normal, at other times I’m quite anxious. The unknown is of course the tricky part.

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