Ulysses Hickey, 33, had been following the news about the pandemic since the end of January. At the time, cases were beginning to be reported in other countries outside of China, including the U.S.
This increasingly alarmed the salesforce architect and his girlfriend, Rebecca Valdivia, 34, who had a birthday trip planned for late February. Though the couple did go on the trip, they decided to buy as many supplies as possible before leaving because they predicted what was to come – shutdown and shortages.
Aside from food, some of their purchases included two respirator masks — now increasingly difficult to find — and five gallons of denatured alcohol as basic rubbing alcohol was already beginning to sell out. By the time they got home in early March, the Houston government was already advising the public to avoid contact with others and stay home.
Due to their preparations, Valdivia and Hickey made it almost 30 days without leaving their house, save a single trip to a pharmacy.
The couple is continuing to stay quarantined at home and are working remotely.
Full disclosure: Valdivia is the writer’s second cousin