Winter/Spring 2020 has been like “the world turned upside down.” Wikipedia explains that “The song ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ is an English ballad. It was first published on a broadside in the middle of the 1640s as a protest against the policies of Parliament relating to the celebration of Christmas.” Tradition has it that when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown (1781) the British played this tune, although there is some debate as to whether that is myth of fact. One of the song’s ballads explains how a world would be upside down:

If buttercups buzz’d after the bee,

If boats were on land, churches on sea,

If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,

And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse,

If the mamas sold their babies

To the gypsies for half a crown;

If summer were spring and the other way round,

Then all the world would be upside down.

(From Burl Ives Songbook)

Today, the musical “Hamilton” has a popular song by Lin-Manuel Miranda titled “Yorktown; the World Turned Upside Down.” Both the original ballad and Miranda’s song refer to a world where nothing makes sense: “If summer were spring and the other way round,” is a world unlike what we’re used to and understand.

Spring 2020 is such a world: where businesses are closed by edict of the city or state; where everyone is order to “stay safe; stay home.” People work from home offices and schools are taught online to children attending at home. Universities are empty, all public sports are cancelled, and roads are deserted. People are only allowed out for necessities, such as getting food, or going to essential jobs—medical personnel, grocery store workers and suppliers, pharmacies and such.

All because of a dangerous pandemic, COVID-19, which probably began in China last winter and was inseminated world-wide by our global travelers.

The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has spread from China. Coronavirus cell. Vector illustration

Young people usually have mild cases, or no symptoms, and often do not even know they are contagious. People “shed” the virus long before they know they are sick, so infect all they come in contact with before they even show a symptom. The old, the infirm, people with pre-existing conditions that compromise their health, are the ones hit hardest by the virus. Its main complication is a problem breathing, and many are put on ventilators for weeks and often die.

It has been two weeks since our governor requested everyone stay at home, and today our county made that an order punishable by fines or jail if not adhered to. My daughter, Diana, her husband, Jason, and son, Aiden and I were on the Big Island of Hawaii when the first mention of a pandemic was spoken of. While we were there, the first person identified in Hawaii with the virus was publicized.

Wuhan coronavirus outbreak influenza as dangerous flu strain cases as a pandemic concept banner flat style illustration stock illustration

My son, Marc, and his fiancé, Jacci, were not as lucky. They were in Venice enjoying the early days of Carnivale, when suddenly Carnivale, all public events and tourist attractions were suddenly shut own because of the virus and the sudden explosion of cases and deaths in Northern Italy. A week later, Marc and Jacci arrived in the United
States and immediately went into 14 days quarantine because of their possible exposure to the virus.

 I am both elderly and have compromised health, and my son, Bryan, who lives with me has ankylosing spondylitis that includes auto-immune problems, so Marc and Jacci rented an Airbnb (a rented vacation home), and stayed there during their quarantine to isolate themselves from us in case they had caught the virus in Italy. Two weeks and a negative Covid-19 test and they were able to move back into my house on March 14.

Marc has been very protective of me and wanted me to stay home all the time; he and Jacci order the groceries and pick them up in the drive-through window (the way they had ordered their food during their quarantine). So, I can’t do routine servicing of my car; I cannot get my hair or have my cleaning lady come. I can’t even open the door to get a package because it might be contaminated.

In Utah, the virus hasn’t been too bad, but elsewhere in the country—New York, California, New Orleans, the deaths have been astonishing! Over 200,000 Americans have tested positive for Covid-19, and as of today, over 4,500 have died. The president announced today that the projected death rate, if people self-isolate, is from 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. Without self-isolation, it could reach between two million and 2.4 million deaths.

Then on top of everything, two weeks ago tomorrow, we had a 5.7 earthquake in Magna that we all felt here. We’ve had numerous aftershocks that have shook us up, but they are finally subsiding. Yesterday, Idaho had a 6.4 earthquake about 75 miles away from Ed’s sisters’ homes.

How is this affecting me? I’m home and can’t go anywhere, except for a walk in the early evening when not many people are out, and I stay six feet away from anyone. My stress level is high; I have had two migraines and an attack of stress-induced pericarditis this week.

Some things my children have done is for me to skype with Marlowe’s kids in Seattle and read stories to them; talk to my isolated children and grandchildren as much as possible, and to pray. It truly is a world turned upside down.

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