It is hard to get our heads wrapped around the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. March 2020 is not the same America we knew in February of 2020. It is hard to understand the size and scope of this virus. To put this in perspective, this disease was first reported in China, on December 31, 2019. On January 11, 2020, the Chinese government announced the first death. On January 23, the World Health Organization declared that the virus does not yet constitute a public health emergency of international concern. On January 21, the U.S. announced the first case. On February 22, California announced its first case, and the White House said the president put Vice President Pence in charge of the response. On March 9, Europe went into lockdown. In an election year, and a world of 24-hour media, it is easy for anyone to take shots at the government and the captains of industry, but to put these things in perspective, as of March 12, Jeffery Dahmer had eaten more people than had died in this country. Just for reference, he ate 17 people. So, it is hard to understand how fast pandemic can spread. This is probably one of the first times in history that we have had so much access to information in real-time, which makes us helpless spectators.
COVID-19 challenges us with science and arithmetic. While the smart people figure out what to do and how to contain this, we all know we need to take a deep breath, but our mind conflicts with what we see and what we do.
In Ed Sherwood’s book, “The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life,” we learn lessons about where is the safest seat on an airplane, where is the best place to have a heart attack, why does religious observance add years to your life and how can birthdays be hazardous to your health. He also talks about some terrible choices that people have had to make to survive in terrible situations. That is how the world feels this week. While the medical community hunts for answers and cures, we have been hunting for toilet paper and water. If you are one of the lucky ones that found some, you were faced with a moral dilemma: Should you buy more than you need? How much do you need? When will it be available again? And, the big question — should I buy more than I need?
We are living in that space I like to call “strategic space.” This is the space where the government has to do something but also has to come up with something to make it appear everything is under control to create distance between our emotions and chaos. Closing schools, activities and telling people to say home is probable good advice in this situation, as we know that the virus takes up to 14 days to manifest itself.
In Cody Lundin’s book, “98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive,” Lundin stresses that a human can live without food for weeks and without water for about three days or so; but if the body’s core temperature dips much below or above the 98.6 degree mark, a person can literally die within hours. Temperature is one of the first symptoms of CORVID-19. According to the CDC, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you develop emergency warning signs, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
• New confusion or inability to arouse
• Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Until there are enough test kits and reporting mechanisms, there is no way to figure out who, where or how many people are spreading the virus. Couple that with the knowledge that the science community is telling us it may take up to a year-and-a-half to test and get the data back for a viable vaccine. This is a large gap to deal with.
As for the run on stores, we live in Fayetteville. In the last few years, we have had water mains break, hurricanes, tornados and a variety of other challenging situations. Having water, food and medical supplies on hand should be part of your everyday life — no matter where you live.
We all know that fear and greed drive the stock markets. We’ve heard that our whole lives, and if you listen to most news outlets right now, it’s absolute hysteria.
Do you believe that the American economy is doomed and that it will never return? Do you believe that all of the companies that you are invested in within your individual investment portfolio are going under? I don’t think this is the case, but as the stock market bounces up and down, remember to buy low and sell high.
Dr. Spencer Johnson’s book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” is a wonderful parable about the different ways we respond to life’s changes and how doing so skillfully can help us find more success and happiness in our lives. What is changing as of today? Kids will learn to do homework, practice distance learning, and learn more computer skills. Employers are looking at teleworking. Many jobs are computer-based anyway. You will learn about social isolation — or the joys of working independently. The entertainment business will take a hit, but the internet streaming businesses will be up. We may have to learn to cook, grow a garden or learn to go out and have a picnic.
It is easy to criticize the government for not having enough test kits or vaccines for everyone in America when the majority of people didn’t have enough toilet paper or water to get through a couple of weeks. Your beliefs will either build you up or let you down. Remember, your beliefs are yours alone, and your choices are yours.