The Real Reason Coronavirus Freaks Us Out and What We Can Learn

Panic Alone or Fight Together?

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Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash
Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

All of us live under the illusion that we are in control with our plans, schedules, certainty, and daily routines. We live as if we’re never ever going to die or get sick. We wake up every day knowing exactly what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. It gets scary sometimes, but we move on because we have a structure, a comfort zone, a familiar lovely bubble. But then one day, out of the blue, our world gets shattered by uncertainty and fear. Our little plans are dropped. The coronavirus presents itself and spreads fast. It turns out we’re more vulnerable than we think.

Recovering from the Me Pandemic

We’ve had several pandemics before, and the world always goes on but not for everyone. It’s not a comforting thought. Is it? People die every single day, for different reasons. They get sick. They get hit by a car. The truth is life always hits hard, but we just go on, refusing to believe that it can happen to us as well. I’ve been following the statistics on the spread of the coronavirus frequently on the website of the World Health Organization, and I’ve been saying to myself that it’s not too bad. The death rate is not so high. And then I heard, I don’t know if it’s correct or not, that the seasonal influenza kills more people every year. But as the numbers of the coronavirus cases started to grow, I started to panic. It could be me. It could be my family. It could be my friends. And then I read that post on LinkedIn about someone who’s lost his father, and it hurt. Statistics are just numbers but behind those numbers are real people who’ve suffered the loss of their loved ones. We live in a selfish world. We care about our small world with little to no consideration for others. It happens somewhere else, why should I bother? How am I going to protect myself? How am I going to go through this and get out alive? I wouldn’t claim to say I don’t feel the same, sometimes. After all, I freaked out more when the danger was becoming impending and when I felt it could hit my world as well.

One for All and All for One

We are freaking out because we’re not in control. We cannot do much about the spread of the virus, at least not on our own. This time, your life depends not only on what you can do but also on what others do. You’re protected when all the people around you are protected. The vigilance of others plays an important role in keeping you safe. If there is one lesson that this virus teaches us is that we’re all in this together. It’s one ship, and if we really want to survive we have to ensure not just that the upper deck where we live has no holes but also to fix the holes in the lower deck. It’s only when we work together and not separately that we regain control.

What You Can Do for Yourself and for Others

It has been said over and over again that we can protect ourselves by frequently washing our hands and not touching our faces. I’ve been personally trying to boost my immunity by eating healthy foods. These little tips can help you feel a little more in control, and it can be a good thing in controlling our stress levels.

I believe there is more you can do to protect yourself: protect others. You can support the efforts of the World Health Organization by donating to the COVID-19 Response Fund. It’s the least you can do to ensure others out there receive treatment, and essential supplies are provided to doctors and nurses. Also, the coronavirus has an economic impact. You don’t want a sick person to continue working and infecting others simply because he cannot afford to take the day off.  Lockdowns, quarantines, and isolation can be devastating for some people and not everyone can survive them. So, if you can support your neighbors, family, friends, or others who cannot afford to lose just one day of work, now is the time to do it. Infectious diseases teach us different lessons. It’s not about you. It’s about everybody. Remember, the key to staying safe is to take care of everybody as well because when you protect others, you protect yourself.

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