I remember being in grade school reading history books and listening to lectures about the Great Depression and the Civil War. I vaguely remember being a child during 9/11, only to learn more about the event and its effect when I got older. And in those moments I wondered what additions would be made to those history books during our lifetimes. What would we live through that would shape the course of history?
If I didn’t write anything about the coronavirus I would feel ridiculous. We’re in the middle of a pandemic! What’s been said is true: we’re living through history. Years from now we could look back at what is happening on the news and what we personally captured during this time and see how far we’ve come. We could show our children and grandchildren and explain our accounts of what happened. The outcome of this will change the way people think and act if it hasn’t done so already. At this point in time the US has surpassed Italy and China in the number of documented cases. Daily life has been impacted in noticeable ways. The state and county you live in can affect how drastic the changes are because the nation isn’t on the same page yet on how to handle this. Some are in full on “shelter-in-place” mode. Others only have “non-essential” businesses closed and strongly recommend social distancing.
Social distancing is the idea that we no longer go out in groups. We are only supposed to leave our residence for work and groceries. Everything else, like gyms, some restaurants, movie theaters, bars, and the like are closed to encourage us to stay home. The idea behind this is to reduce the spread of the virus. Some of us can have and be carriers of the virus and not know because we are not showing symptoms. We could also have the virus and not know for up to two weeks because it can take that long for symptoms to show.
During this time, I’m lucky to still be employed and to work for the company that I do. For the most part they’ve gone beyond my expectations in how they’ve reacted to the news and how they’re treating us as employees. Unfortunately most people aren’t in this position.
A lot of businesses have closed their doors. People have been laid off because businesses either don’t have the money to sustain themselves and support their employees or simply don’t want to pay out their employees. What’s even worse is not everyone has been promised a position back when this is all over.
Its commonplace to see people walking around with masks and gloves. People wash their hands and sanitize their phones more frequently. People are stocking up on groceries and supplies. In some cases they’re stocking up too much. It has been too hard to find hand sanitizer, gloves, paper towels, and toilet paper. Like, why toilet paper? People are even stocking up on masks, and not just regular ones. They have been buying N95 masks, which are specialized to filter the air the wearer breathes. This has taken away resources from hospitals, who need it for the other cases they handle aside from corona.
You have the people who weren’t and may still not be taking this seriously, thinking the precautions that have taken place are stupid. They are coming up with conspiracy theories including that the virus is man made. And then there are the people who have taken this crisis to the next level, by acting out of selfishness: stocking up on supplies and food they don’t need or going out to the beach to enjoy their spring break.
So far here are my takeaways from the situation:
1) This is scary because of how rapid the spread is and how many people have died in a short amount of time and will die by the end of this. Tens of thousands of people dying from a single source is wild.
2)We are forgetting that hospitals handle other cases aside from corona. On top of the hundreds of people who need a hospital from corona, there are people who were already hospitalized. There are also people who will need to be hospitalized and who will need surgery in the coming days and weeks. That is also what is overwhelming about it
3) Many things will change when this is over such as how we interact with each other, how we keep up with personal hygiene, how grocery stores operate, and maybe even employee rights.
4) Mass groups of people in fear is terrifying. This is something I already knew but seeing it play out and seeing people react the way they have is scary to watch.
5) We crave control and sometimes the best way to have control is through denial. As long as we don’t believe something to be true, it has no power over us. In this case, we also gain control through buying out grocery stores and trying to resume our normal routines until we legally can’t anymore.
6) We also like to have choices. Not being able to go anywhere except the grocery story and work is making me, at least, feel claustrophobic. It’s not even so much that I want to go out and do things because I like my alone time and I like being home but not being able to make that choice freely is what has been getting to me.
7) It’s nice technology has developed in a way where we can play games and socialize online and through social media. We can learn about other people’s experience from hundreds of miles away.
8) Social media and reading the news online can be overwhelming. Having this type of access to other people can lead to the spread of misinformation which only creates more fear. Also, hearing about coronavirus all the time can be drowning. It is necessary to take a break and to walk away from it all.
9) This is time we can use to look into our inner world. I was talking to some friends on the phone and one of the, had said that she read somewhere, “I didn’t realize how much everything was a distraction and now I’m left without those.” This is a great time to lookg at yourself without the titles of jobs, material possessions, and other people. Work on yourself and help your mind, body, and soul grow.
10) This is also a time for relaxation. Most of us are constantly on the go. And though some people are still working outside of their homes, including myself, there are periods of time where we can try to focus on rest.
I don’t think we will ever know if we’ve done too much or too little when this is over. I have heard something that was reassuring, however. That is, it is better that we overreact and say we did too much than to do little and say we didn’t do enough. That’s something I’ve been holding onto.
I hope we come out of this more appreciative of our lives and embrace what we have taken for granted. I hope we come out of this with more consideration and respect for one another. Coronavirus is an event we have all collectively been impacted by. Let’s not make each other’s lives more difficult. Let’s get through this together.