Coping with COVID-19

The times we are in require us to be extra vigilant when we go outside, walk on the street, go to the supermarket, or interact with anyone at all at a span of six feet, within a climate of social-distancing.  We feel fears we never even knew could become part of us.  We fear for the loss of our lives, our health, our incomes, our food, water, toilet tissue, disinfectants, and other household items upon which we learned to regularly depend.  We are told we must wear a mask in order that we may be protected and decrease our chances of becoming infected with this life-threatening virus, COVID-19, the coronavirus.

“Stay safe” and “Stay home” are our new ways of ending phone calls or emails or video conferences, as some continue to go to work daily through this social crisis, and others feel some degree of guilt about being able to stay home and avoid most if not all of the danger.  Some have already died.  Some are currently sick and fighting for their lives in our suddenly overcrowded hospitals.  Some have survivors guilt.  Some are afraid of passing on the virus to loved ones.

We wonder if there will be enough support, enough financial aid, enough health care benefits, enough testing, enough resources needed by the essential workers who are on the front lines, working everyday with those who have been infected.  Videos and news programs show doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers with grooves dug deep into their cheeks from the masks they have had to wear for hours and days on end.

We are told to wait.  We wait.  We will eventually see some change.  There is no vaccine as of yet, and there is no clear course of action to take for the foreseeable future as some states nonetheless force their workers to go back to their workplaces, and others cautiously continue to keep their constituents home.

One thing is for sure.  We can now embrace an attitude of gratitude.  Having seen what life can become, how the social systems upon which we rely can easily break down in a matter of days, weeks and months, we are collectively more grateful for the things we have and to be able to eat, to drink water, to have work, and to have families.

Some of us have learned better ways of communicating with those closest to us, in our homes, as we have been home together for a long time, spending long days working from home and home-schooling simultaneously.  Some have had a much harder time getting along with everyone at home.

For now, let’s remember to be kind and patient, compassionate and forgiving with everyone we know.