If you notice the date on this blog post, it coincides with the COVID19 pandemic ramping up in the U.S. I am sitting in my usual place at Starbucks, just like I do all the time. It is Sunday morning at 7:30AM, and there is no one else here. The stock markets are having their usual response to anything uncertain. Sporting events are being canceled, schools are suspending classes or going to online formats, and the airports are a zoo as people try to return from trips and Spring Break. The stores are out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as people rushed out to stock up during the past week. The media is having a field day with constantly bombarding us with more information, some accurate and some not, and certainly more information than we would ever possibly need.
What we need is to collectively take a deep breath and relax for a second. Almost all of us, literally 99.9% of the people in the country are going to be just fine. This is not like the pandemic depicted in the movie World War Z, where anyone exposed would turn into a zombie within 24 hours. This is not a bioweapon or a planned terrorist attack. This is Mother Nature reminding us that despite how hard we work to take complete control over every aspect of our lives, she is still the one driving the bus.
This is why everyone is so critical of the President at the moment; he is in the ideal role to bring a sense of calm to the madness, and yet he making things worse at times. Mixed messages and lack of attention to detail is bad enough on a regular timeline. In a hyper-aware time like this, it is critical to portray an image of someone who knows the facts, has a plan, and is ready to lead the masses to safety. He needs to be the eye of the hurricane for us all. Unfortunately we are so divided in this country at the moment that in some people’s mind nothing President Trump does could possibly be right or good. I am guessing things will need to get much worse with the coronavirus issue before it will be enough to bring everyone together like the day after September 11th.
I remember that day very clearly. I was home from work that day, I had walking pneumonia and had slept in. I woke up to my phone ringing and my Dad calling me to see if I was feeling ok and if I had seen what happened. I sat in my condo alone, watching the horror of the plane crashing into the tower, people screaming and running for their lives, while the first responders and others ran towards the building trying to save anyone they could. Then the other tower came down, and the other sites involved in the attacks started to be brought to light as well. It seemed the world was coming to an end.
But it didn’t. Over 3,000 people lost their lives that day, and the country was in a state of shock. The world reacted, most sending prayers and condolences. This had enough far-reaching impact that the Masai tribe in Kenya sent a gift of 14 cows, which they hold sacred, to the US as a show of solidarity. A member of their tribe had recently returned from school in New York, and shared the stories with his fellow tribe. They felt compelled to help, and sent their gift. A true act of humanity. I remember seeing the tattered flag being raised over the pile of rumble in New York where the towers stood only a day earlier. I remember seeing the dust covered faces of everyone within the vicinity of the towers, total strangers helping one another get to safety. The outpouring of care and concern, of supplies, and a desire to help others was unprecedented in my lifetime. In some ways, it set the tone for the next major episodes that would occur, like the Boston Marathon attack, Las Vegas shooting, Sandy Hook, etc. We have had our share in recent times, but are still far better off than many places in the world where this is literally commonplace. We have a track record of coming together when things get really bad, and I see no reason for that to change. Hopefully the coronavirus is not going to escalate to that level.
This too shall pass. We will get through this one way or another. The ideal way is to be calm and not add to the panic response that so many are having so far. If you were smart about it, you already have everything you need at home to be self quarantined for two weeks. Just like this pandemic is exposing the problems and weaknesses in the global supply chain and some of the protocols for handling things such as this, it may also be showing you the holes in your self sufficiency plans. As the Red Cross suggests, you should ALWAYS be ready to be self sufficient for a minimum of two weeks. You are doing yourself and your family a huge disservice by thinking that the government is going to be able to help you on short notice. If you watched the response times for things like Hurricane Katrina and others, you should know by now that when a mass event occurs, the masses suffer. “We do not have the resources t help everyone, we only can help the survivors” is the government stance on mass events. Sad, but true. And from a practical standpoint, you can’t expect anyone to come to your aid when things get bad. Everyone has others close to them to help first, and THEN they maybe can help you.
I am hoping you can be calm in this situation. Things are not that bad yet; things could get much worse. I am hoping you prepared a little in advance, and can feel somewhat secure with your current situation to ride this out as needed. If you aren’t, try to get there without throwing elbows and stepping on others to do so. Practice social distancing and spend some quality time at home with those you love. If you are by yourself, Facetime people close to you just to keep the social interaction we all need intact. Plan for the worst, hope for better. Help people when you can. Do your best to be the eye of the hurricane, the calm center within the storm circling around outside. Like with anything else, try to learn from this and come out the other side better and wiser. And above all, keep your faith in your fellow humans, as the only way we all get through stuff like this is if we do it TOGETHER.
As always, I wish you luck with your endeavors.