I’ve often expected that a global infection of some type might occur in my lifetime, and so far, there is nothing about this one that surprises me a whole lot. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’m a devout skeptic in regards to most human activities. Lack of vision, lack of planning, you know…the usual. With a blog title like, “Think Ahead”, you’d expect a little of “The Grasshopper and The Ant” mentality to show up here. My kids will tell you that this particular lesson has always been a staple in my long line of tired parables.
In fact, I was in the process of writing a novel based on survivors of a worldwide pandemic, one that would change life forever, so you can imagine how current events are both fascinating and disturbing to me. I was making progress on the book until the first few signs of a real pandemic started becoming evident. The unfolding realities are now overshadowing the situations that I’d tried to create in my own mind. Let’s just say that the book is on hold for now.
It’s all beginning to seem more “real” to people in my locale as store shelves empty. My wife left for a large nearby grocery store late last evening to avoid the crowds, and texted me this picture of the noodle and pasta aisle:
Good luck trying to find rice or beans in any store within miles of here. But she said there’s lots of potato chips and organic, gluten-free tortilla shells left over. Grab ’em while you can!
Reports and articles trying to minimize the outcome of this exponentially growing global pandemic are now on the wane. There are still a few holdouts, but I am done listening to anyone still enjoying the sleepy dreams of denial. Some people had told us that it’s no worse than the flu and that most individuals will hardly know they’ve been infected. And for some, that may be true. Suffice it to say that recent information from the most reliable sources available is painting a much different picture.
Everyone wants to get through this with nary a trace of damage, and most will. But is it a bad thing to say that some of us won’t survive, or we may be left with permanent lung damage? Or are we not supposed to think about that?
There have been many criticisms of hysteria and hype. But so far, I have not witnessed any type of behavior that I would classify as “hysteria”. People are coming to grips the best they know how and are trying to prepare. If hoarding toilet paper or pasta is “hysteria”, then I have no problem with it. And for those who missed the paper products aisle, the newspaper may have to serve humanity in an even less dignified manner than it already does. But lack of TP is a simple inconvenience; I can foresee much more troubling forms of hysteria taking place in the near future.
I have cancelled all unessential trips and social interactions, which were relatively few to begin with. Over many discussions, and to be honest, frank exchanges with loved ones, this house may be soon be declared “quarantined.” However, I realize there are unavoidable circumstances, and that there’s risk involved in every exception.
I’ve been watching other countries to see how they react. Some of them are merely weeks ahead of us as their hospital rooms overflow with critical patients. I’ve learned that some of these countries were better prepared than the United States, with a much higher bed capacity than ours. Although I have faith in the American people to make the best of this situation, the sad reality is that we do not have the health care infrastructure to handle what’s coming. Not even close.
My approach, or should I call it my “survival strategy”, changes hour-to-hour as I try to get things dialed in. I’ve been analyzing story after story, and I think I’m beginning to see the picture. The severity may be a simple matter of degrees.
I like the following line that I picked up somewhere in my browsing this morning:
“Nobody ever said, “‘I regret that I prepared so much for emergencies'”
I think I’ll frame and post these words in our front room, as if I haven’t already caused enough trouble.
Like all of us, I have many beloved family members who are at great risk due to age or preexisting health conditions. I will do what I can for them when needed, and I expect the same from the rest of my family.
As a self-identified realist, I fully expect to see both the best and worst sides of humanity as this pandemic unfolds. I do agree that a part of being helpful is to understand the benefits of self-imposed “distancing.” I don’t blame anyone for taking steps they feel necessary to protect their own families, even if others refer to it as “hysteria.”
I’m definitely hoping for the best, not just in my own circle, but for the entire world. We need to work together to minimize the spread as much as possible.