Don’t borrow trouble. Stop going around the block to meet it. A wise friend told this to me many years ago and it has guided me all my life. That doesn’t mean I don’t worry or concern myself too much with trying to figure out the “how” of everything. I am more conscious now of the “what” and not the “how”. Over the years I have learned the best way to stop myself and waste copious amounts of time is to try to figure out the how.
This leads me to today’s corona virus scare. Fear sells and if it was a corporation listed on a stock exchange, it would be going through the roof price-wise. We could buy thousands of shares and watch ourselves make money. Unfortunately, fear has always been the greatest selling tool and we humans ingest it like it was candy. Now, of course, we have another scary virus among the population. Yes, it preys strongly on those with weakened immune system, those with underlying conditions and the elderly. I think I have stepped into the last category. How did that happen?
We are better equipped to handle this condition but we really don’t have control of what it will do. This is a new experience for many of us. We have become accustomed to scientists rushing in there and coming up with treatments. We try to invent solutions. We now have the rationing of sanitizing wipes due to high demand. Even though, we are learning that the virus is spread by human liquids. What we do is we invent solutions. They help comfort us and make us feel we are fighting back. The truth of it all is we don’t know. It could kill less or more than the flu. It could turn out to be worse. What we do know is that panic and fear is leaving the global economy in a mess. Supply chains will take the better part of the year to recover, if then. People are terrified to cluster in groups, travel, shop etc. We buy face masks which basically don’t protect the wearer. The virus can get around and inside most masks.
We have relied on governments to protect us and the leaders to protect us. The leaders can’t protect us any more than the priests of the old days when we went to them for saving us. This corona virus is showing us the limits of the government, their leaders and us. I find it ironic that the center for this virus was China–one of the most authoritarian countries in the world. They couldn’t stop it no matter how much power and control they have. We have deluded ourselves that we could master nature. We search for explanations and wonder if this is “God’s retribution” for damaging the planet. Priests cannot comfort us.
We can learn to keep a sense of proportion about the whole idea of the corona virus, also known as Covid-19. Let’s look at some numbers and compare the corona virus to the flu virus. As of early March, meaning now, the corona virus has infected 90,000 people and killed 3,000 globally. Most of these are in China. More than 100 people in the US have been diagnosed with it, including 9 who have died. The common flu, however, has infected as many as 45 million Americans since Oct. 2019 and killed as many as 46,000. These figures are according to the estimates of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. So why do we have the Corona Virus frenzy? It could be because it is new and flashy. To date, it has no vaccine. (We probably we will have it by 2021). The flu is familiar, the Covid-19 is not.
We like to scare ourselves and so we are. I have just spent the last 9 days at Cedars Sinai Hospital in LA. My husband had a severe brain injury and spent the first 5 days in the intensive care. Nobody wears face masks except in the emergency room, not even in ICU. Walking around the streets of LA you see only an an occasional mask and these are mainly in the Asian communities. You do see hand cleaning devices or bottles everywhere. But they have always had them in the hospital and always at Trader Joe’s. I went to lunch today in Beverly Hills with some good friends. No masks there.
What can we do to help ourselves through this latest unknown. For starters really do wash your hands frequently. Don’t touch your face–anywhere. If you must, use a clean tissue. Get sleep, stay off sugar as it weakens the immune system. In short, use your common sense and go and enjoy your life.
If you find yourself in close contact with airplane cabins or large crowds use a technique my doctor told me long ago–dab some Bacitracin or Neosporin ointment inside your nose prior to entering the cabin or meeting the crowd. Germs have to make it through this fire wall each time you take a breath. Carry a small tube when you travel. It really works.
Wash your hands and remember, American Chinese restaurants are not in China. Go have yourself a good Chinese meal.