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COVID-19 Quarantine Day 3: Unpredictability

March 17, 2020 (China Standard Time)
Chaoyang District, Beijing

It was my birthday yesterday, but jet lag hit me hard. I didn’t get to write a post. The photo above is my birthday-in-quarantine dinner.

Yesterday, Beijing began to mandate 14-day hotel quarantine for all arriving passengers, with a few exemptions. I had arrived two days earlier before this policy went into effect. And today, Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would ban non-citizens from entering the border; had I left Boston a few days late, I probably wouldn’t have been able to fly through Toronto.

The truth is, everything has become unpredictable. More friends came back to Beijing yesterday and had to spend their next two weeks at a designated hotel, after 20 hours of flight travel.

Imagine being on plane a where everyone is in full protective gear, and nobody is telling you what to expect next after landing. As my friend said, it’s a post-apocalyptic (or perhaps pre-apocalyptic?) scene. Stress, anxiety, disappointment—the unpredictability and unknowing are a challenge our mental health, especially knowing that you, and travelers around you, may have the virus.

But know that in a time like this, there are very few things we can control. If there’s something that you don’t have control over, just let go of it.

I also wrote a thread about whether you should travel home to China, if that’s where you live, during this epidemic:

Back in the U.S., federal and state governments are finally taking more actions to discourage social gatherings. The situation will get much worse before it gets better.

My friend Larry Salibra from Hong Kong started a movement called #WearAFuckingMask. From Larry:  

Fucking surgical masks keep you from spraying droplets on other people when you talk, cough or sneeze. These droplets might contain Fucking viruses which will Fucking infect other people. Fucking masks protect other people as much or even more than they Fucking protect you. . . . I want to put an end to the Fucking stereotype that only people in Asia can wear masks in public. We all can get Fucking infected by SARS-CoV-2 and we all can Fucking infect others. Let‘s all #WearAFuckingMask.

Don’t touch your face. Practice social distancing. Wear a fucking mask.