How we are handling COVID 19 (today anyways…)


Jorge and I got dressed-up for Easter

Wednesday March 11th, the COVID 19 pandemic was officially announced by the World Health Organization, and we sent our housekeeper, Rosana back to her village with 2 week’s wages, and said we’d be in touch after the end of the month. As the government suggested, Jorge and I began our “voluntary isolation”. Good thing we started early because we had no idea of what “voluntary isolation” actually entails. On March 11th, there were 12 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Mexico.

Between the 11th and the 16th of March, I went shopping in a big enclosed space, AKA the supermarket where I always shop. I was part of the “mask-less and glove-less horde” meandering around, touching items and putting them back in the pile. I saw lots of people greeting each other and laughing as they said, “Remember, no kissing… ha, ha, ha, ha! ” When I got home, I did wash the produce, but I’ve always done that. I did not wipe down any of the packages with alcohol, nor did I shower right away. I did leave my shoes on the porch, but I did not spray them with sanitizer – and horror of horrors – I traipsed all over the interior of our house in the same clothes I’d worn to the supermarket.

Monday March 16th, I realised the error of my ways – the gravity of the situation was sinking in – and I started getting scared. On March 16th, there were 61 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Mexico; 49 new cases in 5 days. The next day, classes were suspended country-wide.

That weekend, Jorge and his brother had a “porch visit”. I set out their chairs, 6 feet apart and I left them so that they could have some “guy time”. When I returned an hour and a half later, there they were – sitting on the same bench, slapping each other on the back and laughing – I went ballistic! Raul retreated and I asked Jorge to shower immediately. I was acting like a crazy person! But he “humoured me”, and I “convinced him” of the importance of all these “exaggerated safety measures”. By March 24th, we had 405 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Mexico; 344 new cases in just 8 days.

Jorge and I moseyed along; the housework was a drag and yet it isn’t all bad news. We found we enjoyed spending all this time together. We were cooking up a storm and by March 26th, I had to accept that the additional kilos showing up on the scale’s readout were NOT just “water retention” – I decided to go on the low carb plan. That lasted a week; I could not stand the reduction of food and alcohol even one more day. When Jorge caught me stuffing a fistful of chips into my mouth, I heard him mutter, “Oh-oh.” I would have to try the “within reason” approach to food.

This would not be easy because the police were sending home anyone they caught walking for exercise. And without burning calories, it is all the harder to keep weight down. But the police’s “exaggerated safety measures” were perfectly justified. On March 26th, there were 848 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Mexico. More than double the previous number of just 2 days ago.

On the last day of March, there were 1,215 confirmed cases of COVID 19. 367 new cases in 5 days, a bit of a decrease in the acceleration rate. My new “workout” now involved more intense house cleaning.

Monday April 7th marked our 1 month “anniversary” of voluntary isolation. By this point we had a better idea of what was OK and what NOT. Our shopping had narrowed down to 4 places: “El Huayito”, a small outdoor market. “Farmacia Camara”, a locally owned drugstore, “Donasusa”, a regional chain of small supermarkets – and yes – “La Perlita”, a neighbourhood bakery. All these establishments are located within 6 blocks of our house. I bless them all for staying open.  By April 7th, there were 2,785 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Mexico. An increase of 1,570 in just a week.

By Monday April 20th, 8,772 cases of COVID 19 had been confirmed. AND of those, there have been 712 fatalities.

Yesterday, Mexico entered Phase 3 of the pandemic. The Siglo XXI Convention Center has been habilitated as a hospital. The police continue trolling for random walkers, and I have come to a compromise with that – I get up at 5 am to walk 2 blocks back and forth along my street – then I do some Yoga stretches and swim 20 laps (not much because our pool is only 8 m. long) I am trying to stay away from starch and sugar and the wine supply is diminishing so I am rationing that.

Right now, the authorities say we will be back to class on June 1st; we’ll see if that actually happens. For the foreseeable future, Jorge and I will continue to have good days when we are organised and optimistic; and I know we’ll also have bad ones when we lay around and feed our fear . We have to accept this; everyone does.

I don’t know if the world will get a grip on this pandemic until we have a vaccine, so Jorge and I will keep on doing just what we’re doing now. So far we have been able to cover all our responsibilities – that’s what it’s all about – the governments of the globe can make recommendations, but, it is up to every person on the planet to act rationally and save lives. The economic pressure is tighter every day, so PLEASE help where you can by continuing to donate $$$ to the community organization of your choice.

Waiting for help…

Be well everyone – stay home – and stay safe.

Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include spending time with freinds, reading, painting, cooking and travel.

17 thoughts on “How we are handling COVID 19 (today anyways…)

  1. So Glad you and Jorge are weathering this lingering storm. I closely monitor the activities (or lack thereof) of the Yucatan beach communities. I’ve also been contributing regularly to two different food distribution efforts in the Chelem and Progreso areas… PayPal account is getting a good work out! Here in NB, the province is doing very well with only 16 active cases (118 infections, 102 recovered, 5 still in hospital) and is seen to be leading the country. Discussions about reopening the provincial economy is being discussed at the leadership levels. I’m so proud of both our Prime Minister and our provincial Premier who have performed wonderfully. I do worry about my ‘2nd country’ and how everyone will fare this scourge. Take care and stay safe Joanna….think of you often!


    1. This is one time when a small population and big open spaces is for the best, isn’t it? I too see that the Canadian federal and provincial governments are doing pretty amazing job, and the people’s cooperation is absolutely vital. Thank you for donating to our efforts here in Yucatan. I wonder if you could make a suggestion to your Canadian circle… those who are flying Westjet (when they hopefully return next season) that airline has a policy of offering a free checked bag for passengers to carry items for community relief. If people could collect the things they are not going to use anymore (clothes, light-weight household stuff, sheets and towels that will be replaced, etc ) And maybe purchase a few school supplies (pencils, pens, copybooks, coloured pencils etc) they will be so gratefully received by the aid groups…


      1. Yes, a good idea Joanna and when we get closer to the fall I think this type of post will appear. If not, I will certainly place it on YBF and Expats groups. I have done this a couple of times in support of the Chix Food Bank. All the best!


  2. Everyone needs to follow the ‘rules’ for the General Good. People here are responsive. Walking and cycling on the islands is being encouraged with social distancing. A number of our neighbours have taken to walking their dogs down the middle of the roads to be a suitable distance from people’s properties. No traffic so very safe. Country Grocer is all organized with staff at the entrance counting people in and out again at the other end. Mark says the floor is marked in 2m squares, sort of like hopscotch. No shopper is permitted in a square next to any other shopper. The store has 7am – 8am for shoppers 65+ each day. Mark has taken to going at 7am to a store empty of other customers. People tend not to get up this early on our little Island. Wine problem was solved by taking advantage of free delivery for orders over $xx and having 2 cases delivered from Victoria. Biggest problem is with the recycling depot. At present, staff are letting in only one car at a time, so there is typically a 1 1/2 to 2 hour wait. Needless to say our recycling is piling up.
    We’ll survive.


    1. Sounds like you and Mark are doing well (as you always do) Discipline is more necessary than ever… and so is compassion. I wonder what our world will be like after this is over… Auntie Alice… any comment on this from you?


  3. This is a great account of the pandemic in the country, though doesn’t reflect our state, which is lucky to be geographically separated. Our state, as of this morning, has had only lost 15 people to COVID-19, two of which were foreigners rescued from a cruise ship in the middle of the night, and another who returned from Canada with the virus. Police and officials are serious here, versus reports we’re getting from Illinois where people go out without coverings, gather in large groups, and have turned this into a political tug-of-war. As for places to be in the world, we’re lucky to be here.


    1. We are doing remarkably well, but my stats for Yucatan show:
      202 confirmed cases
      111 recovered
      15 deaths
      Danger lies in under-reporting and under-testing too. When people think the numbers are too low, they stop being so careful… and we cannot relax yet. I too am pleased with both the federal and state government’s response. But PEOPLE have to do their part and realise that if they do not, they continue to put at risk, those of us who are complying .


    1. Thank you Catherine… I have been wondering how you are??? I often think back to the last time we visited with each other… at that lovely restaurant by the Convento de Sor Juana… with Michael Schuessler and Jorge… it seems a life time away, doen’t it? You have my email; is yours the same? Let’s catch up…


  4. Thank you Joanna for this post. It seems a little difficult to keep up with what is happening with numbers here in Mexico. We too are just trying to keep some kind of routine, check on love ones, etc. Good luck in your efforts. Also I have started some water coloring.

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Hi JOan… I replied to your comment but who knows where it went? I am very happy to hear you are doing water colour… I have done a few watercolours but not as much as I want to… too much cleaning, washing and cooking. I DO draw the line at ironing though! Take care of yourself and Deb… BIG virtual hugs…


  5. Watercolour… I have been painting too, but with acrylics. I did a five smaill pieces that I will give as gifts when I am able to see people again. And I am working on a larger painting too. I will post as soon as it is far enough along to give people and idea of what’s happening with it. Aren’t welucky to have our art! My best to you and yours…


  6. I also dressed for Easter, with a lovely dress my daughter sent to me on my birthday some time ago. I did my hair and makeup, as always, to celebrate the holiday. I went for a walk, yes, in my dress with sneakers to match. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. The lechón was cooking in the oven on low.
    What I didn’t do was All the fixings I normally make besides the salsa, which in Ecuador is called aji. You cannot have puerco hornado without aji! I always have family over on this holiday, but it was just the two of us this time.
    You and your husband look great. We must all remember it’s the little things that count right now.

    My little granddaughter just called me on Skype. That’s always something to look forward to. We laugh, we tell each other what we have been up to, I read her books, we talk about what we did when I was just there. I was very fortunate to visit her and my daughter, in Oregon, just as this was starting. What if I had not gone? We had not seen each other since last year. We all have to count our blessings…


    1. Oh Hello! I haven’t been in touch with you for quite a while. Sounds as though you are doing well despite all the upset right now. I am so pleased you were able to see your granddaughter… me too, last summer and at Christmas. We were so lucky. I started this new blog 3 years ago and it is as though I am fufilling a prophecy… it has been nothing but “Changes in our Lives” some good ones … some not at all. But the most important thing is that we are healthy and blessed with many advantages… what’s a little extra work? Eh? Take good care and please keep in touch.


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