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Karen Nazor Hill: Grand Thoughts: It feels weird, but we're preparing in case of coronavirus

Chattanooga Times Free Press - 3/7/2020

Mar. 7--Coronavirus, a word I'd never heard until recently, is now not only a part of my daily vocabulary, but my grandchildren's as well, and for good reason. It's coming.

In my 67 years, I've never experienced the real possibility of a pandemic, and to be honest, it's somewhat intimidating.

To what extent coronavirus hits Chattanooga remains to be seen. But the bottom line for us all is to be ready when it does.

Preparing for a possible pandemic where quarantines are issued is daunting, but it's what my husband and I have been doing for the last week. We've made sure we have enough food in storage to feed our family, including our three grandchildren who live next door, Tilleigh, 13, Evie, 9, and William, 7.

We've stocked up on dry goods, canned goods, water, bleach, soap, hand sanitizer, medicine, first-aid supplies, toilet paper, snacks and other necessities. Our goal is to have enough in storage to sustain us for three months (to be on the safe side).

But it's so weird doing this. It feels like a doomsday scenario. If the coronavirus passes us by (not likely), everything we have in storage can be put to good use in our everyday, non-coronavirus lives.

Included in our preparation for a possible quarantine is educating the children on what could happen without scaring the bejesus out of them. It is extremely comforting, though, to know the virus doesn't seem to have a serious effect on children. What isn't comforting, however, is that the virus isn't so lenient on the elderly, particularly older folks with compromised health issues. And 67 is elderly, right? Ugh.

My son, a scientist, living in San Diego, is well-versed on the virus and advised me early on to be prepared. One of his fears, which can very well be a reality, is that "distribution" will stop, meaning stores will be closed. Therefore, think ahead, and be prepared.

Dust off the board games, load up on reading material, stock up your pantry and get ready to settle in for a long winter's nap.

Be proactive and follow the guidelines on taking care of yourself and your family. Hopefully, coronavirus won't be the predominant headline, but if it is, you'll be ready.

Email Karen Nazor Hill at


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