My take on Corona virus....
Posted on March 11 2020
I work in the retail industry, which means in December when the corona virus started impacting China, we started feeling it pretty quick. Our colleagues were unable to communicate with us, shipments were being delayed, they were on lock down for weeks, with schools being shut till the end of March! And now here we are, despite all the efforts of so many countries, Corona has landed on our shores. And today the WHO has declared it a pandemic.
I've quietly read news reports, articles and watched the debate on social media about whether or not this is just media hysteria, political chess or some engineered virus designed to control population. So many conspiracies, speculations, under reactions and over reactions. It's been interesting to watch.
I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and their own course of action in response to this now pandemic, and we all do what we feel is best for our families. But please let’s not downplay this as just another flu that’s no big deal. Countries don’t send people home and tell them to stay there and disrupt their entire economy over a simple flu. Harvard doesn’t remove students from dorms for nothing. Google doesn’t ask every employee in North America to work from home for the sniffles. The national guard doesn't deploy to a town just outside of NYC to help deliver food and supplies because of an over reaction.
Is it world ending? I doubt it. Will most people be fine? Probably. But, that won't be the story for everyone. There are people in your community who are sick with cancer, babies born early, elderly grandparents with health conditions. There are people who through community spread will not recover. It’s not just for me that I exercise caution. It’s for the person I could come into contact with who maybe isn’t able to fight something off. It’s for the person who isn’t healthy enough to brush it off as nothing.
The health and safety of our communities is only as good as the least concerned person among us.
I would also encourage sensitivity. I see a lot of posts from people dismissing this as "nothing to worry about" and "stop being so paranoid". Just remember, as this spreads, chances are someone you know will be impacted and experience a loss of a loved one to the virus. Dismissing it as a passing cold is hurtful to those people touched by it, quarantined by it, separated from loved ones because of it, or trapped on a ship or away from work and home because of it. To the people in Italy who can't have a funeral or attend church, it isn't nothing. To the people locked inside their homes in New Rochelle NY, this most certainly isn't nothing. They are probably afraid, isolated, and concerned for their own well being and the well being of their community members, they are probably concerned about the ability for their hospitals to handle an influx of patients if this gets out of control. Further more there are people diagnosed with it, more and more everyday. And those people are probably terrified.
There are real people struggling on the other side of the keyboard reading the words of dismissal.
Personally, I am concerned. Not because I am afraid we will all get sick and die, but because this experience demonstrates our infrastructure isn't quite ready for something like this, homes and families aren't ready for something like this. Most of my friends don't even have 5 days worth of supplies let alone 3 weeks worth. We live in a society that predominantly believes "it won't happen to me." All you need to do is look at the shelves for toilet paper, or hand sanitizer to see the impact on our supply chains. I laughed at my husband a few months ago when he insisted we buy emergency food. I told him he was a quack and this was America for God's sake. Was he insane?
Look who's laughing now....
This disruption also highlights our reliance on goods made in other countries like China, where their shut down has direct and material impact on our own commerce. The benefits and costs of globalization are certainly felt when one of the main suppliers of our global economy is forced into a freeze.
I'm hopeful that this experience will put the world on notice. Basic hygiene and proper self care matters now more than ever when we live in a world where you can start the day in LA and end it in Beijing. We are carriers of germs, and while it may not affect us, it could very well take out the person sitting next to us who has an immune disorder. We need to cover our mouths when we cough, we need to wash our hands, we need to stay home when we are sick and stop going to work thinking we are harder working for pushing thru illness and showing up to prove we are the more committed worker. We need to revaluate how we do business and look for ways to build domestic manufacturing and diversify supply chains so we aren't tethered to lifeboats in singular nations.
I am hopeful that this reminds people of what really matters in life. Google is telling people to stay home, and I say, bravo. Not because I think there will be an uncontrolled outbreak in their offices, but because it shows we can be aggressive, progressive and maximize the incredible technology we have to help people feel a little bit safer in an uncertain time. It's time to take stock and look at what the world is today, and what we want it to be tomorrow. Nothing gives people perspective like crisis, and I hope we can learn a thing or two about how we want our world to look by seeing how quickly everything we take for granted can be turned upside down on it's head. I doubt the people of New Rochelle expected to be living out something form a sci fi film. and yet, here they are. A new reality in a split second.
I had swine flu many years back. I had malaria as a child and almost died. I've witnessed my son have scarlet fever and burn at 106.5 degrees and worry about whether or not he would recover (thank god for penicillin!)I am no stranger to diseases that can kill you, or that can make you horribly sick even if they don't. Just because most of us can be exposed to something horrible and recover, doesn't mean we should be laissez faire about it, because we live in a world that's about more than us.
Prayers for health!