COVID 19, the Coronavirus, is triggering global panic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) just declared it a pandemic, citing “alarming levels of spread and … levels of inaction.” Right now, there are over 120,000 documented cases worldwide and over 1,000 here in the United States. I’m positive that by the time you’re reading this, those numbers will seem nostalgic. Things move blindingly fast. As illustration, three weeks ago, we hadn’t even heard of “self-quarantine.” Miriam Webster now catalogues it in the top one percent of lookups.
One might say that the media is over-hyping the crisis to get eyeballs and clicks. One might be right. Yet, there’s also a legitimate cause for concern. Between the unreliable information stream; the natural fear we all have of the unknown; as well as feeling that we are leaves in the rapids, propelled without control; it’s normal to have to hold at bay the nauseous sense of panic welling up in our throats.
As the serenity prayer says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This condition is so not in the “change the things I can change” column. The best advice is “remember to breathe.” Clear a moment. Close your eyes. Take a long, deep breath. Let it out. Repeat. Color it “acceptance”
However, what will our society look like post-virus?
And yes, it will be gone. There will be a morning after. Most of us will be here when the sun rises on that day. If we use China as a template, the scourge – if handled well (and that’s a topic for another column) – will take about eight weeks to run its course.