Dispatches from the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport

If you’ve been trying to avoid news coverage about coronavirus, I wonder how that’s working out for you.

Even though it seems like the virus is all the news ever talks about, I’ve been following developments closely, as I’m flying today. (The ubiquitous TV monitors in the airports I’ve passed through so far have been broadcasting almost nothing but COVID this and corona that.) If all goes well, I’ll be in Germany tomorrow, after about 24 hours in spaces shared by thousands of people, who I hope are all healthy and washing their hands faithfully.*
 
COVID-19 is changing habits all over the world, but there are some habits that won’t be eliminated, only modified. For example, I was told recently about a Chinese city where the virus has people staying behind closed doors, but ordering take-out still happens.
 

 

Here’s how that can go: a courier arrives in front of an apartment, puts the ordered food on the seat of his motorbike, and adds two slips of paper. The first contains the temperature reading of the person who prepared the food, and the second contains the temperature reading of the courier. The the courier backs far away from the delivery bike and waits.

 

 

The report I heard didn’t say anything about what happens next: does the customer also provide a slip of paper with another temperature reading? Is payment certified as disinfected?

 

In Wuhan, individuals are required to have temperatures checked twice a day.


 
It’s an interesting time. Whether or not you’re trying to avoid being constantly talked at about COVID-19, I wish you luck in avoiding the actual virus. Here’s hoping we’ll all be able to manage whatever comes next.

 

*P.S. Dad, don’t worry: I’m being careful, and washing my hands often.

 

[Images come from this article, taken by an NPR stringer who didn’t want a name out there, for fear of government reprisal.]