It’s such a huge topic that I’m not sure where to start. Should I talk about the similarities and the (thank the divine) differences between COVID-19 and the Influenza epidemic of 1918?
Should I discuss the way the massive amount of coverage is making me feel inundated by information rather than helped by it as is usually the case? Daily, sometimes hourly, news briefings and press conferences make me reluctant to turn on the TV. A Google search of the term COVID-19 returns 7,760,000,000 results. The sheer weight of the information is overwhelming. And there are so many out there trying to profit off this pandemic. Far too many are spreading misinformation, and/or touting false cures and preventatives, all with their own agenda.
Maybe I should tell you how worried I am for people across the world. Regular folks: cashiers, clerks, baristas, childcare workers, tellers, messengers, delivery workers, pharmacy techs and the like, who are on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. They have to go to work, or they can’t pay their rent or put food on the table. Not to mention that their health care, in the U.S., depends on remaining employed. But if they do go to work, they are at risk. Them continuing to work puts their families, and everyone they come into contact with, at risk as well.
I am concerned for small businesses that may not survive this crisis through no fault of their own. And if they go under, their employees may not survive it either.
It scares me that health care professionals must struggle with weighing their safety and that of their family against the needs of the public. And so many now are running out of the basic supplies they need to keep from catching and/or spreading contagion among the most vulnerable.
The people who insist on going forward with a “business as usual” approach, terrify me. They are like the drunk driver who kills an entire family, but walks away with no more than cuts and bruises. Many of them will continue to spread this virus, probably with little or no impact on their own lives.
Some of them – older folks, and those with underlying medical conditions – may literally die as a logical consequence of their own foolishness. Even younger people, you know, those GenZ individuals who WOULD NOT forego or cut short their spring break because “the virus only kills old people”? They should understand that the virus is mutating, as viruses will, into something that can be lethal to them as well. And yet, they continue to dance as if the music will never end.
I do not wish harm on them, but I do wish for a bit of good sense and compassion to smack them upside the head before the worst happens.
And what happens to education in the time of COVID-19? Many school districts are switching to virtual school, but there are bound to be those that don’t have a way to connect. A lot of districts are doing their best to ensure that all students have access, but some of our kids are bound to slip through the cracks.
I am afraid for these people, my own family and friends among them. But there are a few things that give me hope.
A lot of people are taking this seriously, and taking appropriate measures to flatten the curve. Here in Florida, I’ve started seeing PSAs on how to help with this process. And not just “what not to do,” but hopeful, helpful information on what you can do, and still be safe.
Each day, I hear of another business that is switching production to something that will help. 3M is making more masks. Ventilator manufacturers are ramping up production. Amazon is prioritizing shipments of medical and health supplies over other commodities.
Many small businesses are finding ways to roll with the punches and continue. They are managing to employ as many people as possible while maintaining social distancing.
Many government leaders are taking steps to flatten the curve by putting the breaks on the speed with which the virus can reach more of the population. Scientists and research facilities are speeding up the development process for treatments and vaccines.
And in Italy, neighbors are singing on their balconies. People are coming through, as we always have in times of great trouble. It’s a mixed bag, but I believe in the power of the human spirit to overcome, no matter what we face.
It’s going to take a while, but eventually, we will come through, blinking into the sunlight again. We need to behave in such a way that we aren’t ashamed of the actions we took when it was dark.