March 13

13 Mar

One year ago today was the last day I stood in a seminar room facilitating a workshop with any sense of freedom. Even then the Romanians in the group were very distracted by the thought that they might not be allowed to fly home or would have to quarantine for two weeks when they got there.

Afterwards, I sat with a colleague in the otherwise empty bar at the seminar hotel. We did our usual after action review, interspersed with unsettling tidbits from a population biology course he had taken as an undergraduate, enjoying a drink in public for what we thought would be the last time for several weeks. (Ah, the innocence!)

Then we gathered up our things and went our separate ways to make sure we had food for the next few days, not knowing what the lockdown, due to start the following Monday, would bring.

Those memories highlight two facets of a year of pandemic in Austria that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit as we neared this anniversary: that what seemed unthinkable and almost insurmountable (two weeks of quarantine???) have become part of our daily lives and that no one I know foresaw how long the pandemic would go on or was prepared for the uncertainty. (I don’t number any epidemiologists among my friends.)

A year ago Austria acted quickly and decisively and had low numbers to show for it. Now our numbers are bad, although not quite as bad as the rest of Central Europe, and our vaccine rollout is pathetic. It’s anyone’s guess when life will regain any of its pre-pandemic freedom.

At least spring is coming!

2 Responses to “March 13”

  1. esauboeck March 13, 2021 at 7:24 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear that things aren’t going as well as one would have hoped for in Europe. Why is the vaccine rollout so badly done in Austria and elsewhere? Now that our POTUS is a sane human being, things are beginning to look up here. My husband and I have both had both of our vaccine doses, as have most of our over-65 friends.

    • ecbinvienna March 14, 2021 at 9:11 am #

      Thank you for the kind words and congratulations on getting your shots! The news reporting suggests that the EU has not managed to coordinate the purchase and distribution of vaccines well. The rollout’s going badly in Austria and other places because we simply don’t have the vaccine. Testing is going great guns, though. The average is between 200,000 and 300,000 per day! And we are eligible for five free home tests per month, when they are not sold out.

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