When the news first reported the situation in Wuhan, China, I really was not worried. I thought it was horrible. One of my students was in China, I didn't know where specifically, but I hoped she was okay and would make it home safe. I hoped kids would be kind to her when she returned. But in the age of the industrial-military complex and climate change this is the exact thing I had learned to not process. I hear about things that will end the world all the time. We are killing our planet and are more worried about how to better kill each other than we are about saving our existence. A viral pneumonia like disease that was spreading fast and killing hundreds was the exact thing I had learned to not process.
As it spread I still did not really process it. More and more countries reported cases. The death toll rose. But it was not that bad for young people. We were not the ones dying. And only 2% of reported cases resulted in fatality, with the reality being that more people were probably surviving and not reporting it because it was a mild case. I shared things from other people's Instagrams pointing this out and things that told people to stop being racist towards Chinese people. I teach private cello lessons to students in Ann Arbor on the weekends, including two students from Chinese families. They tell me Chinese New Year celebrations are being canceled in Ann Arbor. I am surprised, and tell them I do not think they are at any greater risk than me. When my school student (I'll call her Emily) retuned from China in the middle of February, other students came rushing into our "classroom" (a corner of another teacher's classroom) urgently and gleefully telling me that Emily was back. I told them I knew and I was excited to have her back. Other students were laughing. I asked why they were laughing. They said because she was coming back from China. I asked why that was funny. "Well.. because of the coronavirus!" I asked why that was funny. They ran out of things to say. Emily looked exhausted. I told her I was happy to see her.