COVID 19, the Coronavirus, is triggering global panic.
As I write this, the World Health Organization (WHO) just declared it a pandemic, citing “alarming degrees of spread and… degrees of inaction.” At this time, you can find over 120,000 documented cases worldwide and over 1,000 here in the United States. I’m positive that by the time you’re reading this, those numbers will seem nostalgic. Things move blindingly fast. As illustration, three weeks ago, we hadn’t even heard about “self-quarantine.” Miriam Webster now catalogues it in the most effective one percent of lookups.
One might say that the media is over-hyping the crisis to obtain eyeballs and clicks. One might be right. Yet, there’s also the best cause for concern. Involving the unreliable information stream; the natural fear we all have of the unknown; in addition to feeling that we are leaves in the rapids, propelled without control; it’s normal to possess to put up from increasing the nauseous sense of panic welling up in our throats.
While the serenity prayer says, “God, grant me the serenity to just accept the items I cannot change, courage to change the items I can, COVID19 test clinic near me and the wisdom to understand the difference.” This condition is so not in the “change the items I can transform” column. The most effective advice is “make sure to breathe.” Clear a moment. Close your eyes. Take a long, deep breath. Allow it out. Repeat. Color it “acceptance”
However, what’ll our society seem like post-virus?
And yes, it will soon be gone. There will be a morning after. Most of us will soon be here when sunlight rises on that day. If we use China as a template, the scourge – if handled well (and that is clearly a topic for another column) – will take about eight weeks to operate its course.
I’m sure you can find greater predictive minds than mine looking compared to that time, although I think some consequences already are making themselves known.
Per Wikipedia, “Social distancing is… (a method to) control actions… to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.” As we all know, it is being implemented by curtailing and canceling large gatherings, such as concerts, sports, conventions – aside from schools, churches, and businesses. Cities have banned gatherings over 250 people. Italy has virtually locked the doors and thrown away the keys. New Rochelle, NY features a one-mile containment zone. Many of these actions are increasingly being executed with the intent of flattening the “expansion curve,” a lofty goal but with side effects.
We’re traveling less – even within our own towns. We remain more in our homes, associating only with those we trust.
Sadly – out of a perceived necessity – we’re even reconsidering hugs and handshakes, trading them for fist, foot, and elbow bumps, in addition to bowing.
Culture has been defined as “that’s how exactly we do things around here.” Our culture – for better or worse – will not “do things” like we did before this disease. It will not look nor feel exactly the same, even after the Coronavirus is relegated to exactly the same devote history as polio, SARS or the Black Plague. We shall “do things” differently
As humans, we’re hard-wired to be with others. That is why we form close relationships, build communities, construct cities. This epidemic is putting us at odds with this nature, causing sadness and internal conflict that’ll remain long into the future. It will show itself as us being more physically – and emotionally - isolated; nesting more, using virtual links more frequently than we do now, seeking out that connection we no longer feel safe receiving in public. Fear and suspicion of the “other,” already a significant difficulty in society, is being amplified.
You may or mightn’t trust my calculations but, being a battle-scarred optimist, I wish to think that maybe, just maybe, this horrendous period gives bright-light brilliance to the truth that – regardless of our color, gender, sexual preference, political leanings, even the united states by which we live – we’re One. Each people loves and fears and does the most effective he or she knows how to do. Yet, in a New York minute, it can all be change, through no fault of our own.
I do know that no real matter what the long run carries, we stand an improved chance if we are able to find ways to greatly help and hold each other through this period, whether that’s with a video conference or as part of large conference.