Most of us have never experienced anything like this during our lifetimes. But one should also understand that smaller outbreaks of similar nature have been taking place all over the world even in recent times. Fortunately, those were contained. It was only a matter of time.
It has been just a few weeks since the spread of this contagion started.
Already, almost everything that we took for granted in our societal interactions and in our consumer behaviors outside of the house has had to be rethought.
Lifestyles have already changed.
National economies have already been altered.
Some people’s lives have already been shattered – even if they have not fallen ill. People need to eat even when the economy shuts down. It is a matter of survival for the weakest of our lot.
Some of the changes that have happened may be here for the longer term.
And the worst is yet to come…
The people who had a responsibility to anticipate and do something about the spread of this contagion early enough in the process, to try to limit the damage, failed us miserably. They are still failing us.
I have often wondered what would happen in the world if some of the things that we took for granted go away. How would we survive? (What we are experiencing now is not the worst case of something like this happening.) Ironically, being better off as a society does not necessarily mean that we are better prepared to tackle something like this. Events like this might bring out the best in some people, but, as a group, stupidity seems to reign to a greater extent in places where people are more comfortable and well off. When your mind becomes far removed from the basics of surviving, and the less you are interested in understanding how things really work, the more stupid one seems to behave. Perhaps the brain hurts from the effort. A special mention needs to to be made of the President of the richest country in the world, and the behavior of some of the youth of the country. They have no idea what a pandemic means, and how to behave responsibly in these circumstances. And what about the people who do not seem to care for the truth, to the extent that deliberate lies and misinformation spreads, stuff that can make things worse. And then there are the stories of complete incompetence. (I am not really that surprised about this particular case. I have experienced similar frustration with the system in the past.)
Meanwhile, one is overwhelmed with information, information being forwarded from all over the Internet. A lot of it is from well-meaning people. Every vendor that has my e-mail address has also sent me a message on how the contagion has impacted their business and interactions with their customers. A lot of what one is hearing is repetitive. How much of this can you take? How much of it can you absorb? Better to watch some late night comedy shows once in a while.
In the middle of all this, we cannot forget the people who are fighting this disease on the front lines. These are the doctors, the nurses, and the other hospital staff who are taking care of the sick. They are taking a lot of risk, and they are putting in a lot of time already. They are being stretched. And their job is about to get more difficult.
It is going to get worse before things get better. A few us may not be here at the end of it all. All we can do is take care and try to be prepared. And perhaps it is good to remind oneself once in a while that one does not live forever.