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The new normal: Life during the coronavirus crisis

Ordinary people share how they're coping during these extraordinary times

When Esther Tiferes Tebeka and her 15-year-old daughter returned home from Wuhan, China, last month after being on lockdown, the Palo Alto mother was relieved to escape the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak and get back to a normal life.

She thought the ordeal was behind her, but now weeks later, Tebeka is trapped for a second time by the virus that has spread across the globe. She is among the nearly 7 million residents in six Bay Area counties who were ordered to shelter at home at the start of this week to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, which has spiked in the region.

The coronavirus outbreak has created a new reality along the Midpeninsula: Schools have shut down, Stanford University students have been ordered off campus, all concerts and sports events have been canceled, tech campuses are empty and most residents are now stuck at home. Life as we knew it has come to a screeching halt.

As residents adjust to the new normal over the next few weeks, the Weekly plans to share personal stories of how ordinary people are coping during these extraordinary times.

We talked to Tebeka as well as a health care worker on the frontline, a gig worker weighing the risks of making deliveries, an older adult living behind closed doors, Stanford University students facing eviction, an artistic director who had to cancel his first premiere and a restaurant owner offering discounted and free meals to those in need. Read their stories at PaloAltoOnline.Atavist.com.

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The new normal: Life during the coronavirus crisis

Ordinary people share how they're coping during these extraordinary times

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 9:46 am
Updated: Thu, Apr 16, 2020, 8:58 am

When Esther Tiferes Tebeka and her 15-year-old daughter returned home from Wuhan, China, last month after being on lockdown, the Palo Alto mother was relieved to escape the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak and get back to a normal life.

She thought the ordeal was behind her, but now weeks later, Tebeka is trapped for a second time by the virus that has spread across the globe. She is among the nearly 7 million residents in six Bay Area counties who were ordered to shelter at home at the start of this week to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, which has spiked in the region.

The coronavirus outbreak has created a new reality along the Midpeninsula: Schools have shut down, Stanford University students have been ordered off campus, all concerts and sports events have been canceled, tech campuses are empty and most residents are now stuck at home. Life as we knew it has come to a screeching halt.

As residents adjust to the new normal over the next few weeks, the Weekly plans to share personal stories of how ordinary people are coping during these extraordinary times.

We talked to Tebeka as well as a health care worker on the frontline, a gig worker weighing the risks of making deliveries, an older adult living behind closed doors, Stanford University students facing eviction, an artistic director who had to cancel his first premiere and a restaurant owner offering discounted and free meals to those in need. Read their stories at PaloAltoOnline.Atavist.com.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Trump fired the national pandemic team
Greenmeadow
on Mar 20, 2020 at 10:43 am
Trump fired the national pandemic team, Greenmeadow
on Mar 20, 2020 at 10:43 am
35 people like this

I've spent the last couple days tuning in to the covid task force briefings. Listening is difficult enough, but watching is a whole 'nuther level. Watching Dr. Fauci squirm when others lie and misrepresent the current situation is brutal.

Fortunately, long walks with an appropriate playlist aid in recovery.

I like the suggestions in other threads: hikes, gardening, etc.. If you have the money (plan on this being LONG, tho) try to support some of the local businesses (a restaurant trying to survive on takeout, etc..)

Be good, all. We'll make it.


K Bhatt
Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2020 at 11:42 am
K Bhatt, Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2020 at 11:42 am
27 people like this

Now I get where long-time residents yearning for days of yore with no traffic, crime and construction are coming from.

This town can be so beautiful in the solitude!

...just making lemonade with what we've been given.


Anneke
Professorville
on Mar 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm
Anneke, Professorville
on Mar 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm
10 people like this

Try to focus on the positive, and stay away from negative comments. We are in a strange and eerie situation, but it will go by if everyone does his/her best, and when it is finished, we may be living in a kinder and more thoughtful world.

Also, deaths from traffic accidents in California will fortunately go down tremendously .


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2020 at 2:28 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2020 at 2:28 pm
17 people like this

> Try to focus on the positive, and stay away from negative comments.

I hesitate to say this, because it could be perceived as being negative, which
is not my intention, but ... and this is the kind of "but" that is not meant to
cancel out everything said before it ...

Reality, or any feedback control system that requires thought and deliberation
has to go in both ways, positive and negative. Problems are negatives and
without thinking about them dispassionately, with clarity and and
open-mindedness how can things be addresses appropriately. Maybe
negative is things that tend to push discussions off into emotional conflict?

For instance, one negative-positive or positive-negative I've seen is that a lot
of people in lines still have this tendency to try to push the person ahead of
them by closing in on them as if it will force the queue to move faster.

Lines have been a problem we have all dealt with ages before this crisis, and
may have even made some of us sick with regular colds and flus, but COVID-I9
is putting a whole different spin on the way we do a lot of things. Can we change?

I suggest we standardize on what I am seeing in some stores, where a single-
file line distributes to however many check-out stations there are, and in that
single line there is lines or tapes on 6 foot intervals.

If you mean by negative comments to forego nasty, insulting, condescending,
mean, or personal "micro-aggressions" that people seem to like to insert for
some reason, I would agree with you. It's hard to know what exactly positive
and negative mean sometimes.

We have to start acting smarter and not forego criticism at the chance of
offending what is usually institutional power that expects people not to think
or speak.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm
2 people like this

Trump fired the national pandemic team a resident of Greenmeadow: ???
>> I've spent the last couple days tuning in to the covid task force briefings.

Is there a place the public can go to get those briefings and can you post it here?


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2020 at 4:20 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2020 at 4:20 pm
12 people like this

Has anyone else noticed that everyone seems friendlier, at least out on the street, than normal.

As I have walked outside for a short while each day, I see people waving and smiling to those they pass at a distance. People seem pleased to receive and give a wave whether they are on a bike, walking a dog, or just strolling outside.

As for online, I think Nextdoor has shown some friendly helpers, and some negative comments.


Oliver Stephens
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 21, 2020 at 9:21 pm
Oliver Stephens, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 21, 2020 at 9:21 pm
4 people like this

I'm sorry but there is no lock-down in Palo Alto to speak of. I was driving through Palo Alto neighborhoods today (Saturday March 21), and everywhere I went, I saw young kids, teenagers, and young adults playing outside, walking in groups, talking to each other without distance.

Nobody is in lock-down here. Let's stop pretending we are.

Everybody is treating this as a joke, and I think it's going to come back to haunt us.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2020 at 9:36 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2020 at 9:36 pm
5 people like this

Posted by Anneke, a resident of Professorville

>> Also, deaths from traffic accidents in California will fortunately go down tremendously .

Serious traffic accidents *should* go way down, but, may not. A lot of drivers seem to think that with little traffic, they can race around at will. I've seen a lot of near-misses in the last couple of days.


Observer
Stanford
on Mar 22, 2020 at 6:46 pm
Observer, Stanford
on Mar 22, 2020 at 6:46 pm
1 person likes this

Are these threads permeated by Soviet divisive cyber trolls?


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