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Living with fear

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

People are afraid right now. The new corona virus has everyone scared. For many reasons, their fear is justified. Although it does not seem as deadly as SARS was a few years ago, the virus seems much more difficult to maintain. It has infected as of today 111,000 people in over 100 countries. In China, a city of 11 million people was shut down. Italy has basically shut down all public activities. People are allowed to go to work and that is it. Schools and universities have been shut. All public religious activities have been put on hold. People are no longer able to attend sporting events. In France, the Louvre was shut down. In Ireland, public St. Patrick's Day festivities will not be held this year. There is talk of the Calgary Stampede and the Tokyo Summer Olympics being cancelled in July.

Is such fear justified? Who knows? Viruses come and go in our world. Some mutate and get much worse. Some mutate and become quite harmless. The fact though is that right now, this virus is making many sick and it is easily spread justifies some fear. The fact that a vaccine is at least a year away from being available also justifies fear. Will Covid 19 disappear as quickly as it emerged, who knows?

Whenever dangerous viruses appear, there are always some charlatans who convince the gullible that there is a ready made cure. Facebook helps to spread these false cures because as we discovered with recent elections, false news spreads fast. One article suggested that if we drink a small bit of water every fifteen minutes then we would not get COVID 19. The thinking was that by drinking water, we would swallow the virus and in so doing, our stomach acid would kill the virus. It is a sound argument until you realize that COVID 19 is a respiratory virus breathed in through the lungs and not swallowed by the mouth. Another article I read suggested that COVID 19 was not heat resistant. Temperatures around 26-27C would kill the virus. However again this is not based in fact. Australia has had one of its hottest summers ever and has many cases of COVID 19. COVID 19 has spread to tropical countries like Brazil, Suriname, Singapore, India. Jim Bakker, disgraced leader of the PTL club, is selling a silver concoction which he believes is a cureall for COVID.

With all the hype, whether justified or not, around the virus, it is no wonder that panic has set in amongst some people. People have become embroiled in brawls over toilet paper, even though COVID 19 is not a stomach bug. People have stocked up on the Charmin' leaving store shelves bear. Hand sanitizer has become a precious commodity. People have purchased face masks leaving hospitals short. Such panic buying is not rational. However, people want to make sure that their immediate family are going to be safe if there is a pandemic. So we stock up to build up our defences. As with any medical condition, I think consulting doctor google is a dangerous thing. Medical diagnoses and treatments should be left to those who know.

As with all things, I think rather than give in to whatever mob mentality might be out there, it is probably best to listen to the experts. They are telling us to treat this virus like other viruses. The best way to prevent it is to practise good hygiene. We should wash our hands throughly and dry them. We should cough or sneeze into our elbows. We should stay home from work if we feel unwell. If we have been in areas where the virus is prevalent, we should watch for symptoms and isolate ourselves if we are feeling ill. Avoid excessive hand shaking and think of other ways we can appropriately greet one another. Practising these protocols will not make us immune to COVID, but offer the best protection.

I am not in any way a medical professional. I don't faint at the sight of blood but I don't like to look at either. I am as much as an expert on medical things as I am in quantum mechanics (which I know absolutely nothing about). I know medical experts are not always right and new medical breakthroughs make yesterday's medical miracles quickly obsolete or sometimes even laughable. However in the midst of this crisis, I think it is best to trust the experts because right now they know the best. I will be washing my hands. I will make sure if I am not well, I will stay home. I won't be buying things I don't need and I won't be taking Jim Bakker's cure all. Hopefully this virus will soon become a distant memory. In the mean time though, I think doctor knows best. Blessings.

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