In the last few weeks, news reports around the world, local or global have widely surrounded the new coronavirus and its disease COVID-19. Many of us have been inundated by local, national and global updates almost by each hour if not minutes. We get updates from the global public health organization, the World Health Organization (WHO), different levels governments, local public health authorities, medical professionals, employers, schools, universities, non governmental organizations (NGOs), local charity groups and even private businesses. Press releases and blogging everywhere by nearly everyone.
Taking a Toll on People:
Many global citizens have been overwhelmed by the scale of infectious cases and the huge numbers of casualties across the globe particularly in China, Italy, Spain, France among others. While some feel a need to know the updates, infection rates, the number of casualties and required precautions in order to better prepare and protect themselves, many feel that the volume of reporting and raw data causes panic, fear and some high level anxiety. Some feel sadness and despair.
The fear of uncertainties, food and grocery line ups, shortages and empty shelves caused by panic buying for fear of lockdowns or further shortages appear to cause increased anxiety and more panic. Some have resorted to hoarding and panic buying because they fear the worst. Toilet papers, sanitary wipes and hand sanitizers have vanished from store shelves.
Uncertainty, Despair and Panic:
Many wonder when this would be over whilst others worry if they may be next or how many more would have to be killed by the virus before a solution would be found. Many in the religious community also wonder whether the world is coming to an abrupt end or whether humans have angered “God” through our “sinful” ways.
Positive News amidst COVID-19 Bad News?
In the midst of many negativities, many of us have also learned so much together. We have been forced to reflect on our own vulnerabilities and mortality. Many people have learned to appreciate the bravery and sacrifices of medical professionals, scientists, health officials and our military personnel. COVID-19 has given us a new appreciation of our dependence on governments as many have demonstrated real leaderships and their commitments to protect their citizens. Many people have learned about disease and their transmissions, self discipline, hand hygiene, infection prevention and control protocols and the importance of conserving scarce resources.
The world has also demonstrated unity even as many countries moved to close their territorial boundaries. Governments, health authorities, academics, businesses and private individuals have learned to unite against the deadly virus. Many of us have learned how interdependent and interconnected we all are on one another. We have learned how the wrongs of others can affect others through no fault of theirs.
We have learned how we can care for the most vulnerable persons including seniors, the homeless, the disabled and even the populations of weaker economies.
We have learned how we can give the environment a some break. Thats governments can give hard working citizens free cheques, free parking, a break in rent, mortgage and even trips to daily commutes.
The Way Forward:
The question is where do we go from here when when the pandemic is over? Are we going to live our separate lives and ignore each other or we will continue to care about the actions of one another? Are we going to unite against another global threat such as wars, conflicts, terrorism, hunger, poverty, refugee and migrant movements, environmental degradation?
End in Sight: Any Hope?
As severe and worrisome as this pandemic is, I am an optimist and know that this too shall pass. Although scientists are not sure how long the pandemic shall last, I know it will soon if we all comply with the rules and heed to the directives given by authorities.
The world has survived several world wars, holocaust, slave trade, calamities, natural disasters and past pandemics. Tuberculosis the, Polio, Measles, Chickenpox, the Spanish Flu, other coronavirus diseases (SARS, MERS), HIV/AIDS, Ebola outbreak have all come and gone. This too shall pass and the world will continue to forge ahead.
Stay hopeful, adhere to the directives given, social isolate, wash your hands and connect with your family, friends and loved ones in a distance (electronically) to support one another. Help someone in need in whatever way:practically, financially and emotionally as we are all in this together. Conserve food and resources. Love one another and seek medical attention if you become ill.
Stay safe until we return to normal life.
It will be over; a matter of when.
Peace be onto you all.
March 22, 2020