Outlasting Covid-19: a Jordan journal-7

Day 17 of Jordan lockdown: Wait and worry…

Should we be worried? We’ve been very pleased about our situation in Jordan. Much as we would prefer to be a few other places, we recognize we are fortunate to have so many supportive friends, as well as a country that is keeping the viral spread low. This peace of mind was often outweighed by the challenge for our family as it endured the pandemic epicenter in NYC. Now most of them have left to isolate themselves elsewhere.

Not worried much. February in Petra.

But, here in Jordan, our concerns are increasing a bit. The statistics are hardly bad, with a total of cases at 345 as of Sunday, in a land of 10 million (the equivalent of having only 10,000 across the US or western Europe). Plus more people are recovering each day than coming onto the confirmed list. Therefore, the number of sick is just 230 and hospitals are not overwhelmed.

Confirmed case additions, however, are increasing. After a four day decline to just 4 new cases, daily numbers rose again over the last three days, from 11 to 13 to 22. More disturbing, many of these cases are coming from wholly new sources and from ill people in the produce supply chain.

And then there is the behavior of people around us. Today we saw a store employee openly sneeze onto his gloved hand and continue on with work. But even that’s a one-off. Worse, so many of our neighbors are socializing daily and closely without masks. It appears that their thought process about the viral spread is inverted, as if they could trust the people around them more than strangers. Just as one FB friend said, when asked about a picture of a large group party the other day, “Oh, it’s OK, it’s just family.”

Sadly, family and friends are the MOST dangerous people now, because the spread of the virus depends on high dosages, the levels one gets from close and extended contact. That’s why the virus spreads most in clusters rather than casual interaction. Wisely, some people get it. On a nearby street where many Filipino workers live, dozens were socializing, but almost all were masked and keeping distant from each other.

Finally, we had been blithely living in a bubble, with our small apartment building pretty much all to ourselves. But a potential renter showed up the other day looking to occupy another apartment – unmasked, gloved and clearly mobile after arriving in a car. Our bubble may soon be a leakier one.

We won’t likely choose these options when we leave Jordan

Rationally, we know we are in much better shape in Jordan than elsewhere, and we expect the government will continue to minimize the threat so virulent in Europe and the US. But we’ve at least started thinking about heading to Portugal, where we have residency. With all regularly scheduled flights cancelled here, however, we’re not heading anywhere soon. We will need to extend our visa past May 7, another task. But one day we may take advantage of one of those special flights arranged by consulates to repatriate citizens of western countries.

From less remote Jordan, we wish you all continued health and well-being.

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