Coronavirus Hits Home

Hi Grandma,

Life is settling down here in Australia. The summer bushfires have died down. Life is becoming pretty routine here. Now the big news comes from Pal’s sister, Nancy Sue, who lives in America. Pal read me a letter from Nancy Sue about something called the Coronavirus. Here’s what her letter said:

The Coronavirus is everywhere in the news. I want to tell you what’s going on right here in Lebanon, Oregon where Terrance Michael and I live.

As you know, our son, JJ, is working at the Oregon Veteran’s Home in Lebanon. His life–as well as ours–changed quite a bit last Wednesday, March 11. It started off like any other day. After work I went to Costco. As I was walking into the store, JJ called and invited me to come see him at his home in Albany then take him with me to Costco. Sounded good to me.

JJ told me that both he and his wife have liquid disinfectant in their cars. Of course I wanted to do the same as the kids. We looked for disinfectant at Costco but were unable to find any. Then we went to another grocery store, unable to find any there either. We also noticed signs posted in the grocery store limiting the amount of soap, disinfecting solutions, sanitizing wipes and bottled water people were allowed to purchase.

On my way home, I turned on the radio and was surprised to learn that the local universities were now requiring students to take classes online because of the virus. I also learned that President Trump is banning all flights from Europe to the US effective Friday at midnight. I was happy about this because Terrance Michael was planning a business trip to Europe on Saturday. Now he had to cancel his trip.

When I got home, JJ called and told me that the Veterans’ Home in Oregon has 2 confirmed cases of the virus. That brings the total confirmed cases up to 21 for the state of Oregon. When I told Terrance Michael, he said we must go back to Costco and get toilet paper. So, back we went. However, there was no toilet paper available. The shelves were emptier than usual. We decided to do a bit of stockpiling. We didn’t get much. I thought rice would be a good idea. We could only find 3 bags of Basmati rice.  Terrance Michael asked an employee about the toilet paper. He was told that when they put it out earlier in the day it took about 15 minutes to sell out.

We decided to see if we would have any more luck at WalMart. As you can see from the picture, the toilet paper aisle was completely empty. Fortunately, Terrance Michael asked an employee who was able to find a case of it in the back. We bought the whole case. Then we took some to JJ and his wife so they would have extra.

JJ is taking nursing classes at the community college. This morning he informed his teachers that he works at the Veteran’s Home and asked if he should attend class on Monday morning. He’s still waiting to find out the answer. Tonight he has to go to work at the Veterans’ Home. He doesn’t want to go.

Well, Grandma, looks like news of the Coronavirus is taking over news about us koalas here in Australia. I’ll write to you again soon when there’s more news to tell.

With love,



Koala Pete

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