After debating back and forth about what the right move was, I made a quick decision to fly back to the states. Tickets were purchased around 6pm and I spent the evening packing and sleeping, leaving for the airport about 12 hours later.
On the tube ride to Heathrow I wore a mask. On the planes I wore masks. I washed my hands often and when I couldn’t, I’d use the tiny containers of hand sanitizer I brought with me.
With only 13 US airports receiving flights from Europe, rumor had it that lines at customs were atrocious. I heard 6 hours, 10 hours… passengers had to fill out a paper, get a health screening (I was nervously sweating and hoping my temperature wouldn’t go up so I kept stripping off layers), and a small lecture on monitoring our symptoms for the next two weeks. We were told that at any point, the CDC could call us, so of course we all took that seriously. Thankfully for me, the process took about an hour and I could make my final domestic flight without any issues.
Once home, it was time to figure out my parents flights since they were nearly stranded on a boat. Flights were booked, then cancelled. Booked, then cancelled. Booked, then thankfully taken. They arrived through Newark with no health screening. No questions. Forms to fill out but nobody to collect them. That day, New Jersey went on lock down, yet there was no attention to who was coming through the state. Honestly, I was shocked and so disappointed.
We’re all home now, and Covid-19 is still on it’s world tour. We’re switching off who cooks meals, going on walks, and my brother has found a new ‘handyman’ project to work on pretty much every day. The non-routine is starting to form into its own routine but the nationwide hiatus is far from normal.
The peaks are expected in the US in about two weeks.
It’s only the calm before the storm.