I need to do a brain dump. It’s the only way I can think clearly about all the insanity around COVID-19.
- One way or another, we will all be touched by this virus. At dinner last night I blurted out “one of us at this table is going to get this thing.” I’m sure it won’t be me. I caught something really bad in 1993 that left me barely conscious for 3 days in Las Vegas. Since then, I’ve managed to avoid the most serious symptoms of any flu. I don’t wish any illness on my boys or my husband, but the odds are really not in their favour.
- Should we stay or should we go is the conversation we have been having daily. We are booked for a vacation in Hawaii and our concerns are incredibly different. One is worried about getting infected in the pool or at the resort. One is worried about the stale, bacteria-filled air in the plane. One is worried about being quarantined in Hawaii. I don’t see a problem with that one. My worry is not getting my fix of ocean and my favourite place in the whole world.
- The panic is worrying me. I’m trying to draw a direct line from COVID-19 to the sudden surge in the need for copious rolls of toilet paper and I am coming up empty. If you are quarantined for 14 days, 1 roll per person per day should suffice. In my house that amounts to 56 rolls. Two packages from Costco (which is exactly what we stockpiled). Y’all need to calm the fuck down.
- The media is making me crazy. In journalism school we learned this mantra: If it bleeds, it leads. The media wants to sell two things: ads and print runs. The longer you stay on a site reading the latest news, the more ad revenue that media site can generate. Let the re-targeting begin. Don’t be surprised when ads for a subscription to The Economist start populating your Facebook feed.
- It’s a bad virus. It is killing people and infecting hundreds of thousands. A vaccine won’t be discovered until this thing has run its course. And it may not even be effective. I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but I am writing a science-based series for kids and that means I am ass deep every single day in science. Viruses come and go. They erupt with a fury and then quietly go away for a while until they decide to pop out of a pus-filled infection cake to wipe out some humans. Some will say that is God’s plan. Others will say it’s to be expected given how global boundaries are no longer limiting the movement of people. Still others will say it’s natural selection. And some will argue it’s a conspiracy by a country/political party/mad scientist. Whatever side you land on, there you are.
- Things are going to suck for a while. Tourism will suffer. Local business will suffer. The stock markets are crashing. The economic impact of COVID-19 will trickle down into all our pocketbooks. It’s going to be okay. Markets will rally again, people will get on those planes (but maybe not the cruise ships anytime soon) and the small businesses (like mine) will thrive anew. On the other side of this, expect an upswing in gross behaviour from companies and/or people trying to a) leverage the hashtags to sell their shit; b) start fake fundraisers; c) feed your fear with bullshit and sell their shit and; d) use the coronavirus as a means to shutter their doors instead of admitting to bad management.
- Sneezing and coughing are the new racism. I was on the C-train today and a woman coughed. Fourteen sets of eyes looked in her direction and more than one of them gave her a look of disgust. One person even zipped up his jacket to hide his face in the hood. I was watching the people warily watching this Asian woman and I was trying not to cry. Assholes. We once looked at gay men the same way when they had a pimple on their face. Please just stop it.
We’ll get through this folks. Human being are incredibly resilient. We rally. We survive. We’ll come back from this illness with better immunity and maybe a better sense of this delicate thing we call humanity.