Dispatches from the Pandemic – Day 35

I can’t believe that this is my 35th post of this online Journal. It just seems surreal that we are sheltering at home hiding from an invisible enemy. 

Humans over millennia have evolved to fight against various scourges and enemies. The raiders are coming, quick, hide the children. A flood wipes out the crop. Bombs drop from the air. All of these are terrible things and we are tuned to responding to them. We rail against the villains from across the sea or the other valley. We curse God or Gods that didn’t protect us from the catastrophe. When times are good we root for our local teams and “fight” the other school. And when things happen that we can’t explain we invent an enemy – burn the witches, cast out the Jews, throw the Christians to the lions. 

So now here we are with an invisible enemy that might strike at any time without a warning. We look out our window and everything looks normal. The sun is shining. Birds are singing. Days are getting longer and warmer. There isn’t poison dropping on us from the sky. And yet we are trapped at home knowing in our brains that there is a risk. But in our hearts and subconscious it just doesn’t make sense. There are no lions prowling the parking lot. No distant airplanes ready to swoop down and get us. We can walk out and meet our friends. Hug them. Hang out. And then maybe two to 14 days later we might all get sick and die. Or not. But we’ve been home. And they’ve been home. So some little voice inside says – wait, we should be ok then right? 

And slowly we take more and more risks. And the curve starts to creep up again. Because we just don’t know. And it’s that not knowing that is the real danger. Every day scientists are discovering new thing about this virus. That possibly many more people had it in January than we thought. That many more people have no symptoms but are still carriers. That they are finding that young people with mild or no symptoms are getting sudden massive strokes. It’s scary and until we know, we need take precautions. But that dichotomy is messing with our brains – everything looks normal but it isn’t. The hidden monster that could be lurking anywhere, in any of us. And that is why people are feeling so “off” – I don’t even know what word to use. Unsettled? Uncertainty creates anxiety. And with anxiety comes the need to find scapegoats.

Scapegoats are one of the biggest problems that will come out of this. You see it already with all the conspiracy theories. And the blame throwing. It’s human nature and we all are trying to do better and not succumb to it. But it’s hard for many people because every day on the news they hear our leadership finding new people to vilify. It won’t take much and just like throwing a match onto a dry field of grass we will end up with a new crisis – this time of violence. 

We all need to keep thinking and being aware when our thoughts go that way. And stop finding scapegoats. We are all in this together.