It feels a little like talking about the elephant in the room talking about COVID-19 in the middle of it. This post will mostly focus on a few personal reflections that the entire thing have changed for me.
I remember the news around new year about the new SARS virus that was going on in Wuhan, China. I was not that worried from the beginnig, this was not the first time we had a virus going on in Asia that stayed there. For example there was the original SARS and then later MERS. This just sounded like the same thing again, sad for the region but would not affect west that much.
In February it started to get obvious that COVID-19 would be a world spanning thing, I still hoped it would be a mostly mild thing here in the Nordics, and possible Europe. I did not go to a large conference the first week of Fabruary, mostly because I did not feel like it, but the virus did of course play a role. At this moment there was just a few cases here and there in EU, but I also know that there was a lag time and the real number of cases was not known.
Then late February there was a large outbreak in northern Italy, and about the same week there was the yearly winter holiday from schools in the Stockholm region (the capital, and the most populous area). Plenty of families had traveled to northern Italy to ski and they brought the virus back with them here.
Mars was the month where a large portion of the working force started to work form home. Because me and my colleagues are managing important system, they where afraid we would infect each others we where instructed to work from home when possible early Mars. About two weeks after that the government recommendations to work from home hit.
I was pulled out of my ordinary role due to changed priorities, and Mars was a somewhat messy month for me. There also took some time for me to adapt to “the new normal” that working from home was. I was lucky that I already had an office area at home with a good desk, char, screens and so on. As a computer nerd I have always had a good spot to sit to thinker with computers. What I was lacking was good sound and a webcam for video conferences.
This was not the first time I worked from home, but before it was just a day here and there. Not for weeks… interactions with colleagues changed. Things that was usually easy to do become hard, but interestingly a few tings where easier.
For social interactions of the personal kind, this month changes things for me. Social events turned to video calls. Gaming nights turned to virtual events. I both like, and dislike the new format but I miss the physical interaction with friends. For my mother it has been hard, she did a risky operation just before everything started so she has been isolated and I have tried to minimize my contact with her.
In the end of Mars I told a friend that it feels almost normal to work from home now, and May just passed like any other month. Gaming nights felt completely normal to do over discord/meet. It was normal to not interact with people to close, and avoid any unnecessary contact with people.
I have not seen, or talked with some friends for a long time now. All my friends are not that chatty over text or video and some are closer then others. I miss some of them but with my mother and all I can’t afford to see them.
This was the month where the death rate in Stockholm started to go down. The virus was still spreading in other parts of the country when people started to move around when the weather was starting to get nice and the summer was here.
Midsummer is a large thing in Sweden, and this year both me and my mother was trapped in the Stockholm area. For me, I usually celebrate Midsummer in my mothers summerhouse in the countryside. This did of course not happen this year. While it was allowed, it was not popular to for us “infected Stockholm-people to travel the country”. I was lucky that I was invited to spend Midsummer in the Stockholm area with just a small group careful people. I risked it! I needed it!
Now about five months since COVID-19 hit Sweden I’m sitting in my mothers summerhouse by my self. I have spent the weekend here taking care of the garden and a few other things that needed to be done. I have stayed away from people and stores to be a nice citizen. These days I think it’s probably as likely for me to get the virus here as in Stockholm, maybe. If things go well maybe my mother will be able to travel here later this months and be here a little before the summer is over. It will be nicer for her to isolate here at the farm, compared to the small apartment in the city.
This is also the first time I leave the Stockholm region for about 10 months. That’s a long time! I have been lucky that I have a small summerhouse close to Stockholm that I have spent some time in.
I do not expect things to change to much in August, more or less the same. I thing the infection rate will do down even more in the Stockholm region. There will flair up cases in pockets here and there for the rest of the year probably so we still need to be careful.
What i found most interesting it how things will change, will I work from home more in the future? It has actually been really nice to do so. I think I like to continue with this … but probably not all the time.
I also hope both me, my family and fiends stay healthy. I really hope I do not contract COVID-19, unless I already have done so… who knows! I have not tested me, there are limited amount of tests and I feel that there is other people that should have them before me.