Update: I’m compiling a detailed list of coronavirus relief measures, with instructions on how to claim your benefits. For example, the IRS extended the tax payment deadline due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). With the change, 2019 tax year payments and Q1 estimated tax payments are now due by July 15, 2020. A number of state tax deadlines have been extended too. And you can now use your HSA, FSA, or HRA to pay for OTC medications & menstrual care products as qualified medical expenses.
Hey you – how’s it going? Just another week. You know, same ole, same ole:
- My home state (and many of yours) declared a state of emergency and shut down all schools as we all became familiar with “social distancing” and “flattening the curve”. A national state of emergency was declared shortly after.
- Business after business shut their doors, decreased capacity, and cancelled their events.
- Multiple major countries went on complete national lock-down.
- Our beloved NCAA March Madness was cancelled. I historically have taken vacation for the first 2 days and watch as much as I can of every single game. As a Michigan State fan, it was heartbreaking to see our star point guard, Cassius Winston, have his season abruptly come to an end after he returned for his senior year to win a championship and then lost his brother to suicide at the start of the season. My hope is they give seniors an extra year of eligibility. Every other sport league followed the NCAA’s lead. know, I know – “it’s just sports”, right? Sure, but sports can be a great escape – and this is a time when we need a little escape. So, March Sadness it is.
- Seemingly every other crowd-based event cancelled or eliminated the crowd. Late night shows and Presidential debates are an entirely different experience without a crowd, aren’t they?
- My employer recommended that all employees work from home until mid-April. My first thought was “I hope the vendor workers/part-timers will continue to get paid” (I was relieved to find out that they will). My second thought was “Well, that’s not good timing”, when I realized that hiring will come to a standstill throughout the remainder of the 4 weeks I have left in my temporary role.
- The stock market lost trillions in value. I personally lost 6 figures. Potentially very bad timing, with the possibility of no income in a month.
- Toilet paper and food shortages are a legit problem now. Come on, capitalism – where ya at?! At least we got a good Oregon Trail meme out of it…
- Mrs. 20SF, a nurse, was shaken by the panic, stress, lack of test kits, and disorganization at her “world-class” hospital. And this is before the massive influx of COVID-confirmed patients.
- And, of course, my thoughts are with everyone whose health (or loved one’s health) and whose livelihoods have been or will be impacted by the virus. Everything else is minor in comparison.
Peak hysteria (so far) hit on Thursday…
Schools close, Tom Hanks, trouble in the big banks, no vaccine, quarantine, no more toilet paper seen.
Travel ban, Weinstein, panic COVID-19, NBA, gone away, what else do I have to sayyyyyy https://t.co/N86qx9wZxq
— The Caffeinated Therapist (@bellabee13) March 12, 2020
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go in this direction today, but, I’d feel like a fraud writing about tax optimization strategies, retirement savings, or really anything but the elephant in the room this week. And it’s nearly impossible to sugar coat this thing.
I’m not sure if anyone else is feeling this, but I was particularly struck by the wide range of emotions this week presented. They ranged from being very altruistic to entirely selfish concerns about the absence of personal creature comforts. And back-and-forth.
Perhaps the hardest part is not knowing what comes next. This past week was a stark reminder of how much our society relies upon established norms, certainty, and order. And when that is absent? Things can devolve very quickly.
My hope is that
if when the dust settles we collectively learn a few key lessons and some good comes from this:
- We’ve seen almost the entire country unite and politicians agree on paid sick leave and free testing and treatment initiatives for everyone (Medicare-4-All-4-coronavirus) because we know how essential those things are to slowing down and eradicating this virus. And we know they are a good investment – just look at how many trillions of dollars the economy has already lost and could lose if we don’t stop it. Why limit it to just 1 virus? We are all interconnected and only as healthy as the least insured and protected among us. Sometimes it takes a crisis to re-teach us that.
- We need competent professionals who look out for our best interests and believe in the work that they do in positions of leadership and service. When crises inevitably strike, the alternative has the potential to lead to catastrophic loss of wealth and lives.
- This thing unites us and provides us with some gratitude for normalcy, when we get through this.
I have a feeling we’re just at the beginning here. So let’s try to be smart, be calm, and be good to each other. Hang in there! We’ll get through this.