My roommates and I built a coronavirus plan. We didn't expect to need to put it in action so quickly

The author (right), in the days before social distancing with housemates Travis Preston (left) and Alex Beale (center).

(CNN)Just over two weeks ago, I was visiting New York City, and the world felt poised on a precipice.

As cases ratcheted up in the city and I girded against potential coronavirus infection, I decided to grab a cheap flight back sooner than planned. In the time of coronavirus, the ticket cost about as much as the Uber to Newark.
On March 13, one of my roommates back home in Atlanta emailed us a Google document, outlining our household's policies and procedures for reckoning with the burgeoning pandemic. Pertinent to me was a directive on the list that anyone returning from out-of-town travel was to wash all of his clothes as soon as he got home.
    I live in a spacious, modern two-story house with two other guys in their 20s in Atlanta's Grant Park neighborhood, about a 10-minute drive away from the CNN Center.
      Now, faced with the prospect of a months-long pathogenic siege, we had a plan to fortify our household's pandemic defenses.
        Just like having a fire escape plan, there's a need for all families to have in-case-of-emergency pandemic plans. Living with roommates is no different.

        The Google document

          My roommate Travis Preston, a 28-year-old filmmaker, laid down the law for us. His two-page document set the tone for how he thought we should protect ourselves and our friends during the outbreak.
          The house plan largely followed guidelines from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
          The document contained instructions to "Remove shoes when walking inside from outdoors" and to "Wipe down countertops with disinfectant at the end of each day."
          Anyone stopping by the house needed to immediately take their shoes off upon entering and proceed directly to washing their hands, it also said.
          There was a longer list of procedures, including what we'd do if one of us had symptoms of Covid-19. There was a slightly different plan for where and how each person would quarantine, and how daily tasks would be divided up.
          Preston told me if he falls ill, it's not "feasible" for him to go to his parents' home because he has grandparents living there, and he "doesn't want to get them sick."
          My own parents live in a house half an hour away in Woodstock, Georgia, with an expansive basement where I can quarantine for weeks. The document says I should decamp there if I get sick, or if one of my housemates does.
          At the time, those contingencies seemed unlikely to ever be needed, but after just two weeks, we've already needed to put some of them into action.
          The three of us have been close for years, but after one of us developed a cough this week, he's staying isolated -- or at least six feet away.
          The new lifestyle was a shift, but what I was coming home to wasn't nearly as austere as what happened to CNN anchor and correspondent Martin Savidge coming home after reporting a coronavirus-related story. He needed to be