It’s unsettling to be flipping through TV channels in a hotel room only to find talk shows with little to no audience. As if the proverbial rapture was upon us, the populations of streets, audiences and buildings grew thinner by the minute.
The day the Agora crew left New York City was the same day President Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic a National Emergency.
We had already witnessed the beginnings of social distancing in the two days prior to our departure:
A Times Square with space to walk freely.
A seemingly abandoned Central Park barren of the wave of joggers that would normally swarm at dawn.
A conference hall once reported to have been so full that presentations were standing room only.
By the time we left the city on our way back to Monroe, I think we had all truly realized the future that we were all facing.
The drive back was seemingly normal as the streets are less populated at night anyway.
Upon arrival back at our vehicles, we all went our separate ways to self-quarantine until we were certain that our sanitization and prevention efforts had paid off.
Alone in my room, I can only listen to and imagine the growing discourse of the outside world.
Venturing out for a day, keeping inside my car, I wanted to see this silent world for myself.
It was fascinating
It was terrifying.
My neck of the woods has always been a little less populated, but there’s always been some sort of vehicle or foot traffic.
I looked around at the barren roads, half expecting to see Robert Neville and his dog from “I Am Legend” walking towards me.
Just recently John Oliver’s HBO show “Last Week Tonight” aired an episode from a sound stage separate from their old studio. The old studio hosted an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
This new stage, this pure white void where the host sat, only made the whole situation we find the world in feel more surreal.
But we can only let the surrealism bother us so much before we, as human beings, must sober up and acknowledge the world around us.
Individuals all across the country have begun to self-quarantine and practice social distancing.
Humans are inherently social creatures, we crave interaction and bonds with others, something that social distancing should deprive us of.
Fortunately for us, in this world we live in we are more closely connected than ever before with loved ones and strangers.
This is not always for their sake, but for the sake of others as well.
I see people discussing low mortality rates and how it is likely to only kill the elderly or immunocompromised.
To them I will say only this.
Even if you feel healthy and well, that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t transmit the virus to someone else.
We isolate for the good of everyone; the good of ourselves and our friends and family.
The ones who cannot protect themselves the same way we can.
Be smart. Be safe. And most importantly think of others.