I am a natural introvert. I am a homebody. I like being at my home with my family in my most favorite pair of comfy pants more than anything. As my husband likes to say, “I bought my home and all of my things to enjoy myself. If I have to leave my house constantly to find fulfillment, than something is wrong at my home”. I do have to agree with him. That is us. Those are our decisions. This is the world that we have created for ourselves and we are happy within it. As such, when we were first told to start staying at home as much as possible, we did not have one problem doing so. We enjoy each other, me, my husband, and my two children. This is the moment we have been training for our whole lives as some would say. In the last few days things have gone a bit sideways. As news of the outbreaks in Washington and other places around the United States started being pushed all over the news, I began to worry. I was worried for people like my parents (in their 70s), my ex-mother-in-law, and a few other people but mostly I was worried how people as a whole would react. My suspicions have been pretty accurate. I have seen all ranges of the paranoia spectrum during this outbreak. I have seen the empty shelves in the grocery store; I have seen the videos of people fighting over toilet paper and other supplies. The stories of people who simply need formula for their children when there is none to be found break my heart. In a land of plenty, there suddenly seems like there is not enough to go around. On the flip side, there are also people helping each other. I’ve read the stories of people shopping for and helping the elderly. I‘ve seen post after post of people offering their help, their food, and their supplies to those in need. Then there is the truest form of asshole. The people who are buying up supplies to sell them back to the general public at a much higher rate. In other words, the best and the worst of people.
I have also learned that every apocalypse movie I have ever seen has pretty much been spot on when it comes to the general behavior of people in these kinds of situations. The helpers, the flippant, the me and mine come first, and the profiteers have all come out to play in this situation.
Then there are the people doubting that all of this is even real. There are those who believe this is all one big government ploy, that the media is to blame for all of the hysteria, or that these are political maneuvers brought on by an election year. At the end of the day, while all of that does matter, this pandemic has brought to light how we would all do in view of a worldwide pandemic and I believe we are faltering.
As a lover of zombie movies and all things horror, I do not believe that the end of life as we know it will come from zombies, or meteors, or wars, or even global warming. I believe our biggest threat will come in the form of a rapidly spreading disease of which we cannot gain control. This virus is frightening and fast moving but still has a high percentage rate of survivability. What if it didn’t? Leading scientists and minds in their field in every country are searching for a vaccine that has yet to come to light. What if this was worse? What if the mortality rate was higher? What if this was something so terrible and crushing that we could not get control of it? The panic would be worse, the stakes would be higher and life as we know it could come to a crushing end or be severely crippled. We did not have any kind of plan in place for this as a country or anywhere in the modern world and we are scrambling to catch up.
‘No social distancing, I’m going out anyway?’ What in the hell? If nothing else, even if you don’t believe that this is real, why are you not practicing for the eventuality of it being real? Why are you trying to take this so lightly? Do entire countries close just for media sensationalism? No. No they do not. Please please please take this seriously. For every one person infected with COVID-19 there are two to three more who are bound to become infected. Your screw it attitude could spread something for which you have no symptoms directly into a household where this could become a matter of grave consequence.
I pray that we learn from this. I pray that we grow from this. I pray that this is all over as quickly as possible with as few deaths as possible. Mostly, I pray that we all take care of each other. If taking care of each other in this time means staying away from each other then please, by all means do so with fervor. If you are caring for a neighbor, a grandparent, a friend or really just anyone, take every possible precaution. I hope this has taught us all that even in this modern world where we have every possible thing we could want at our fingertips, we could lose it all just as quickly. As safe as we feel from catastrophe it is never far away. We need not live our life in fear, but we do need to be prepared. Be safe out there everyone.