Day 45: We are orange

Thursday, 30th April

On the new map of France issued by the Ministry of Health, the Rhône department is orange.

This map, released for the first time tonight, will be updated daily, and takes into account criteria that include how active the virus is in a specific area (less than 6% of people in ER: green, between 6% and 10%: orange, beyond 10%: red) and hospital capacity.

By this time next week, on the 7th of May, a final green/red map will be issued and we will be informed about how strictly “de-confined” we will be, according to where we live. As we have had to learn since the start of this crisis: there are no certainties, and we simply have to adapt and cope day by day with this unprecedented enemy in our lives. So we will have to see what will happen. But I do know my kids, and we, need to return to a semblance of, I cannot say normality because there is no more normal, but of a new normal. We need social interaction, to see our friends and interact with others.

Listening to podcasts from the UK and the US, it is interesting to note the difference in tone between the anglo-saxon media and the French: journalists there are much more pragmatic than in France about announcing the number of deaths, and about the fact that the situation is here to last. They are much more straightforward about the economic cost and about the fact that, while governments everywhere are stepping up, all have some very difficult economic times ahead. In this country, there is a sense of expectancy from the government, but many seem to overlook the fact that we are the government, and we will be the ones paying the debt for years to come.

Talking of which: like many of my freelance friends, I have applied for a childcare allowance available to parents who have had to reduce their activity to homeschool and look after their children, but I have not received anything yet.

The kids are in their second week of Easter holidays and are finding ways of keeping themselves entertained – not easy to not be able to go out and see your friends, or go to the pool or to the movies… They have taken to sleeping together most nights in my son’s room, and smuggling chocolate and sweets up there. It is cute. While they argue quite a bit like most siblings, they are also great companions, mostly to make mischief. They are turbulent children but also full of joy. They drive me up the wall but they also really make me smile. Not always an easy balance to strike as a parent – but as the French say, cats don’t make dogs – and I wouldn’t want them any other way!

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