I, like the rest of you, really did not think I would live to see a world wide event the likes of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, but Covid-19 looks like it wants to give it a go...
Thankfully we have an additional 102 years of medical and technological advances to lean on as compared to the Doctors, establishment and populace of 1918. I mean they had the genome of this virus fully mapped inside of the 1st 2 weeks FFS. And it is just that, the medical/scientific/technological resources that we can bring to bear in the 21st century that just might keep it from being our Spanish Flu.
Which is exactly what the push for "social distancing" is for... to slow the spread in order to give our greatly advanced medical establishment the TIME to work out therapies and hopefully, the Holy Grail... an effective vaccine.
We all have been walking the paths of our lives and in the space of 2 months, we all, every one of us, walked up to find a divide... a cliff crossing the path of all our lives... and no one has any real concrete idea of what awaits us on the other side.
We have our individual and collective wishes and hopes, and we have reason for hope in the knowledge and technology we have available to us today... but, ALL the plans we ALL have made for the future have been put on hold... by the very real fear of illness and yes, death.
The world is holding it's collective masked and gloved breath... and that is the reality of each of all of our days now. We are all staring at our phones and PC's and tablets and TVs and we read and post and comment and discuss and, more than all of that, we each worry and ask ourselves how are we going to get through this? What plans can we make, how can we implement them, how can we afford them?
I find myself walking through the house with a can of disinfectant wipes in one hand and a wipe in the other wiping down everything I might touch in a normal day... all the doorknobs, all the faucet handles in the kitchen and bath, the light switches... all of them, every single one of them.
You see my lady and I live in a shared house. It is a very nice 4 bedroom, 2 bath ranch on a scenic and quiet side street in one of the many quintessential Small Southern American Towns... think Mayberry. It is rented out by-the-room and we live here with three other's. A college student, a teacher from the college and a Tech salesman.
This has it's own set of worries for us. You see my lady is (mumble, mumble) with a history of asthma and COPD and I will be 60 this September and I have a history of asthma & bronchitis and I am a Diabetic. I am happy to say I have not been bothered by asthma or bronchitis and the Diabetes seems to be under control since I got back into crewing on racing sailboats. I have lost a lot of weight and am in far better overall health now but still... 60 with a Hist'ry... so we do the multiple times daily antibacterial wipe down of EVERY shared surface.
I could not believe how I felt the day I found 2 boxes (SAS Safety Corp, "Astro-Grip" Powder-free Nitrile Examination Gloves, 100 count) at the back of a bottom shelf at the parts store. When I hesitated holding both boxes, the store clerk said, "Buy both man, the last guy bought five boxes, I think he missed those."
I wear exam gloves to go shopping now.
I sit on my porch and watch the world go by and it all looks the same... but it's not.
Taken in perspective I feel certain we will be ok as a race and as a collection of nations states around the world. I feel basically that things will find a new normal which will look pretty much like the old normal, but mebbe with a few new cultural twists.
How many "twists" from the old normal will depend on how far we go getting from 'old' to 'new'. 2, 4, 6 months? I don't think too much will permanently change... a year? a year and a half? Who knows what kind of cultural changes social distancing and remote learning/working will make over time.
Taken in another perspective... according to the web there are 7.8 billion of us. The worst projection I have seen, so far, is (The New York Times), "As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die." This is 0.02 percent of the worlds population.
You can look it up, you can math too. For the people and the families and friends of those represented by that innocuous number "1.7 million" it is a tragedy and a horribly felt personal loss and heartache and pain... but, it is also 0.02 percent of the total of the human race.
So this is bad yes, very bad and we all need to be smart and fight it with the tools that we KNOW work. We are throwing every possible medical research and technology we can at it but We The People must also fight it with the tools WE ALL have. Personal hygiene and due to the potential for airborn transmission (sneezing and coughing), we also need to use social hygiene... keeping ourselves at a safe distance while this is in the spreading stages and while they work to find therapies and medicinals.
My kids grew up with a saying they both despised, when they said, "I wasn't trying to hit him/her/it/they/that!" I would respond...
"I don't care that you 'weren't trying to'... I care that you were NOT trying NOT to because you are smarter than that." They never had any response to this, they would just stare at the floor... because there isn't one. Try it out on your kids.
So let's all take a breath, pull up our Big Boy Panties and think about this. Yeah, it sucks, maybe it sucks for a couple of months, maybe more, but if we can keep it from spreading unchecked, through simply being smart about how viruses spread and not doing those things that spread it and doing all the things we can do to STOP it from spreading...
Then maybe, just maybe we can make this crack in the path of our lives something we all step across instead of something that swallows us. I hope we can one day look back on this as a very weird time we all experienced, without a staggering death toll, because we collectively, as a species, as one race of human beings in all our wondrous variety... because we were, like the name says, "Homo Sapiens Sapiens"...
Because we were smart about how we acted and we stepped up and showed ourselves as a race that we actually deserve that weird Latin name.
The participle sapiēns means "discerning, wise, sensible"... how about we act like it and beat this thing?
Fly safe my good friends.