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I remember the reporter's words distinctly. It was only a couple of weeks ago but feels much longer. This will touch all of us, he said. Before this is over, we will all know someone infected with the virus. You might get it yourself. You will know someone who knows someone who dies from it. Perhaps it will take someone you love. 

It started as the reality of others. In this case: the people of Wuhan, China. It traveled like a speeding train across Asia and to Europe and still felt like a news item. Something distressing and disturbing that came across our TV screens or smart phones. Then, Italy shut down. Flights were cancelled. Cruise lines were stranded. The train was gaining speed. A nursing home outside of Seattle became America's ground zero. People who worked at Port Everglades, a mile from my home, were infected. The train was growing larger and stronger, a brawny and obstinate intercontinental express. Experts warned it was going to be bad but still, somehow, the people who were getting infected weren't always real. They were Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson in Australia, politicians and their spouses in foreign ports, and Idris Elba in London (or wherever he lives). How can Luther get coronavirus? Somehow, it was still someone else's train on a very unreal track. 

But now, it belongs to all of us. Coronavirus knows no borders, no cultural or economic differences, no generational divides, no political parties. Despite the spring breakers bemoaning the closed beaches in Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County courthouse administrators who have yet to close the courthouse to employees, we are all now passengers on this train. 

Over 100 new cases in Broward County where I reside were reported yesterday. Today, that number will be higher. Still, no testing.

My nephew who lives in New Zealand reported a case in a town near his. New Zealand and Australia, homes to hobbits and koalas, are no longer allowing foreigners in. 

The doctor who delivered my other nephew has it. 

The first case in Penobscot County, Maine, where my sister lives, has been reported.

There has been at least one death at my mother's nursing home due to the virus. Thankfully I took mom out of there several days ago. 

It's too difficult to comprehend the tragedy that has befallen one family in New Jersey where twenty have been infected and three have died, including the matriarch. 

Add your story here. I know you have one. We all do.

Coronavirus is our reality, and it's our civic and humane duty to listen to the experts and self-quarantine as many are already doing. There isn't too much of an exaggeration when it comes to self-distancing. This is not panic. It's respect for others and respect for ourselves. It's civility. Being kind to others is the most important thing we can do as humans. Let's keep our distance until this is over and let's find other ways to connect and grow closer as is happening all over the world. As I write this, a dear friend called to see how I am. Other friends and family have texted or emailed. Yesterday there was a lovely email string amongst my co-workers where we checked in on each other. Those celebrities that have never seemed real are posting videos that are helping us laugh and sing and even dance. Mom and I are watching a light-hearted movie each evening during our self-quarantine. Two nights ago was "The First Wives Club". Last night was "Tootsie". Any suggestions for the upcoming evenings? 

We too are brawny and obstinate. Let's keep checking in on each other and connecting. There is no doubt through distancing we will slow this runaway train and, in the process, grow closer. 

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Joanne Lewis Blog