FDR once said unto an anxious America at the height of the Great Depression: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
But, what if that fear isn't the fear of economic ruin, but of an invisible enemy which lurks in the shadows, awaiting its next healthy, able-bodied victim?
As the Coronavirus spreads throughout the world at an alarming rate, people have begun to fear that the end times are upon us. Grocery stores have turned into a nightmare, with people grabbing every available provision they can carry within their carts. Schools have closed for the rest of the month and universities have gone online in an effort to decrease the possibility of infection on college campuses. Family members are now forced to stand at a distance during a visit to grandma and grandpa's house and some offices have gone remote. On the news, we are constantly bombarded by alarming graphics, drenched in red, which detail the growth of the virus and how it has thrown a country like Italy into chaos. When we see images or experience a changed way of life, of course, it's going to cause fear. Our ancient ancestors knew what fear was; it was the predator that stalked the shadows at night, but now that stalker is something we can't see or control.
When we're confronted with something that we can't control, we begin to panic. We buy all of the toilet paper we can, stock up on non-perishable food items, and become overnight conspiracy theorists. All we can discuss in the office and at the dinner table is the coronavirus. It has literally ingrained itself in our American culture, almost becoming as American as apple pie. When we get like this, it's easy to fall victim to a collective consciousness. We all feed off of each other's panic and worry and begin imagining the worst possible scenarios.
Even with efforts in place to slow the spread of the virus down, it seems like it's constantly getting bigger and bigger. It also doesn't help that this is a relatively new strain of coronavirus, one that humans haven't experienced before. With all these anxieties swirling about our heads, you really have to wonder: are we to keep calm and carry on? Or wait till the coast is clear?
The best thing to do is wait and see. Follow the advice of the CDC and make all the necessary arrangements that you need to. We will get through this together, and it'll all turn out alright.
The good news is that most of the Asian countries have begun showing signs of recovery. Taiwan has reported only 59 cases and one death as of 21 hours ago and parts of Shanghai Disneyland have begun welcoming guests back (the park remains closed, however). In South Korea, 55,000 tests have been conducted daily which gives more clarity to the spread of the disease.
When we only look at the dark side of things like this, it's easy to become afraid and panicked, but when we take the time to unplug and read up on the good going on around us, it'll make this much easier than it needs to be.
Be safe out there, friends.