COVID 19, the Coronavirus, is triggering global panic.
As I write this, the World Health Organization (WHO) just declared it a pandemic, citing “alarming levels of spread and… levels of inaction.” Right now, there are over 120,000 documented cases worldwide and over 1,000 within the United States. I’m positive that by the full time you’re looking over this, those numbers will seem nostalgic. Things move blindingly fast. As illustration, three weeks ago, we hadn’t even heard of “self-quarantine.” Miriam Webster now catalogues it in the most effective one percent of lookups.
One might claim that the media is over-hyping the crisis to have eyeballs and clicks. One may be right. Yet, there’s also a legitimate cause for concern. Involving the unreliable information stream; the natural fear most of us have of the unknown; along with 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.
Whilst the serenity prayer says, “God, grant me the serenity to just accept what exactly I cannot change, courage to improve what exactly I can, COVID19 test clinic near me and the wisdom to know the difference.” This condition is really not in the “change what exactly I can transform” column. The very best advice is “make sure to breathe.” Clear a moment. Close your eyes. Have a long, deep breath. Let it out. Repeat. Color it “acceptance”
However, what will our society look like post-virus?
And yes, it will undoubtedly be gone. There would have been a morning after. Most of us will undoubtedly be here when the sun rises on that day. If we use China as a template, the scourge – if handled well (and that is a topic for another column) – will take about eight weeks to run its course.
I’m sure there are greater predictive minds than mine looking compared to that time, although I believe some consequences are actually making themselves known.
Per Wikipedia, “Social distancing is… (a method to) control actions… to avoid or decrease the spread of a very contagious disease.” As most of us know, it will be implemented by curtailing and canceling large gatherings, such as for example concerts, sports, conventions – aside from schools, churches, and businesses. Cities have banned gatherings over 250 people. Italy has virtually locked the doors and discarded the keys. New Rochelle, NY has a one-mile containment zone. All of these actions are now being executed with the intent of flattening the “expansion curve,” a lofty goal but with side effects.
We’re traveling less – even within our personal 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, along with bowing.
Culture has been defined as “that’s exactly how we do things around here.” Our culture – for better or worse – won’t “do things” like we did before this disease. It won’t look nor feel the exact same, even after the Coronavirus is relegated to the exact same place in history as polio, SARS or the Black Plague. We will “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 our nature, causing sadness and internal conflict which will remain long into the future. It’ll 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 more feel safe receiving in public. Fear and suspicion of the “other,” already a significant difficulty in society, will be amplified.
You may or might not trust my calculations but, being fully a battle-scarred optimist, I want to believe that maybe, just maybe, this horrendous period gives bright-light brilliance to the fact – irrespective of our color, gender, sexual preference, political leanings, even the united states in which we live – we’re One. Each of us loves and fears and does the most effective he or she knows just how to do. Yet, in a New York minute, it may all be change, through no fault of our own.
I really do understand that no matter what the future carries, we stand an improved chance if we could find ways to simply help and hold one another through this period, whether that’s via a video conference or included in large conference.