In our nation today, nerves are wearing thin. We are a wreck, if we’re being honest, and our national unity may be the single strand holding us all together.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, our lives are changing in ever more drastic ways. We are isolating ourselves, which is necessary but far more difficult than we originally imagined. We are awaiting a fast-approaching government response, and we are worried about those of us whose jobs have been effected.
For the residents of Salt Lake City, Utah, this was only a small fraction of the mess on Wednesday.
A moderate earthquake Wednesday near Salt Lake City temporarily shut down a major air traffic hub, damaged a spire atop a temple and frightened millions of people already on edge from the coronavirus pandemic. There were no reports of injuries.
The 5.7-magnitude quake just after 7 a.m. damaged the spire and statue atop the iconic Salt Lake Temple. Elsewhere, bricks were showered onto sidewalks and a chemical plume was released outside the city.
The epicenter was just southwest of Salt Lake City, between the airport and Great Salt Lake. It was felt by about 2.8 million people who were already hunkered down inside their homes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many ran outside in panic amid the shaking that lasted as long as 15 seconds.
Of course, the virus was on the minds of many affected by the tremor.
Michelle Daneri, 30, said the coronavirus outbreak had kept her mostly inside her Salt Lake City home since Friday, but she emerged after the quake to search for her frightened cat and chatted with her neighbors outside.
“We’re trying to check on each other but we’re also trying to keep our distance,” Daneri said. “I think we at least stood about 5 feet away from each other.”
The experience made her wonder how to take precautions against the virus if she could not stay in her home. “It makes me feel a little bit on edge in my house, when that felt like a safe space,” Daneri said.
While there were no injuries reported on account of the quake, the damage to Salt Lake City’s psyche may persist for some time.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.