I just realized it’s been about three weeks since I’ve written anything. There just hasn’t been much to say. But, there is news and progress towards returning the country and the economy to a more normal status so that’s definitely something.
Bob Adams is a good person to follow. He posts useful videos on his YouTube channel on various topics and of course lately, the topics on everyone’s mind are COVID and the economy. https://www.youtuSept 7be.com/user/globalist426
There are also frequent news updates on the health department website. One of the more interesting ones was published on August 26 https://www.yomeinformopma.org/info_detail/185 It presents a schedule for moving forward – Sept 7, restart construction and various retail and commercial businesses, Sept 14th, loosen the mobility restrictions, Sept 21 – sports, but without the public, and Oct 12, the majority of other businesses and activities will reopen and resume.
The country is looking at a RT or transmission rate less than 1%, (meaning that one infected person infects less than one other person), a death rate of less than 3%, the availability of hospital beds over 20%, and the availability of ICU beds over 15%. If numbers start to exceed these thresholds I think we can expect opening to stop or reverse, so wish us luck! But, the country is doing more and more testing and has gotten super serious about contact tracing, and all the health related precautions and restrictions will continue, so maybe we’ll do OK. The next month or two will tell.
The Oct 12 openings include international flights into the country, but with restrictions. They are saying you must present a negative COVID test that is no more than 48 hours old and I just read that if you don’t have one, they will test you (at your expense) on arrival. If you test positive you will be sent to a quarantine hotel or hospital for 14 days. If another test in 7 days is negative you can go free. Otherwise you complete the 14 days. Things change as new plans are published or things are clarified so if you are traveling, please do not take my word for anything! Do your own research and keep up with the news.
I’ve noticed more activity around town in the last couple weeks. We’ve only gone biking and done a few errands nearby, but it seems like there is more traffic, more people out, and construction workers are back on jobs that were stalled. Everyone continues to wear masks. It looks normal to me now and I’d feel naked without mine. You walk through an alcohol cleaning box upon entering any store or establishment, and you get your temperature taken and a generous squirt of alcohol or gel for your hands. We’ve had so much practice with social distancing that it almost doesn’t take any thought now.
Of course people are impatient and frustrated. We have been restricted for months and there have been many many people out of work all this time. Besides the critical needs of food and shelter, people have been separated from family and friends. Kids are all doing school on line which is hard for them, the teachers, and the parents, and more challenging here since internet isn’t ubiquitous. We (and the whole world) continue to live with uncertainty. Who will get sick? When will things return to “normal” and what will that look like? All too often, we seem to take a step forward and then step right back again which is discouraging. But, overall I see very little complaining here. People carry on, help each other wherever they can, and seem to realize that whether we agree or not, this is the reality we are living with and the authorities are doing what they can in a situation that is new and unknown for everyone.
For us, things haven’t really changed. We wake up every day and give thanks that we have everything we need and want. Our area has had more cases than others so we continue to be locked down on the weekends, but since we don’t want to go out anyway it’s not a problem for us personally. During the week try to bike for exercise at least every couple days, and do the few errands we have by bike when it’s possible. I do notice the lack of physical contact though. Some musician friends and others are making tamales and other goodies to earn money. They stop by with deliveries but greetings are elbow bumps at best, and smiles are hidden by masks. Conversations with friends and neighbors are at a distance, and there is no kissing on the cheek in greeting like I’d gotten used to pre-COVID. I notice there isn’t all the chatting while waiting in lines like there used to be. Will the general feel return to the very friendly Panamanian way of life at some point?
But, other things haven’t changed at all. The birds still sing, and the bugs still visit. It’s rainy season now. I woke up to a very cool, still, overcast morning but before long the sun came out and the rest of the morning was just gorgeous. Then, as afternoon wore on, I started hearing thunder in the distance. Sure enough, the thunder and the rain arrived and we had, or are still having a heck of a downpour! This doesn’t happen every day but there are days when the thunder shakes the house and an incredible amount of rain falls from the sky. It’s a great time to be in a comfortable, dry house and enjoy the sound of the rain outside.
Well… I had nothing to say… so 900+ words later I think I’m finished saying it. HA!
Please, take care of yourselves and each other out there. Kindness is more important than ever.