I've worked mostly from home since 1996, so I am in a bit of a privileged position in that regard. Also, both my parents worked in medicine and were generally nonchalant when it came to "disasters" - like Earthquakes and such. Pragmatism was the order of the day.
I'm going to offer an opinion - for what its worth. I'll value it at $0.04 but will take large unmarked bills if you are so inclined. If your opinion differs, that's cool... I'm okay with you being wrong. Magnanimous of me, right? 😉
In our social-media, hyper-connected (disconnected) world, we get to see a LOT of excitable people. Everyone has a strong opinion about almost everything - or adopts the strong opinion they are told to.
I keep seeing individuals posting about how the media and politicians are stoking panic and over-reaction. I just don't see it.
Yes, President Trump, was incoherent and foolish early-on but most people are past being surprised by that. He's done better the past couple of days - though his soulless, monotone, and bizarre oval-office speech seemed forced, for sure. But, again, pragmatism is the order of the day. Look to medical experts, NOT politicians, for solid, emotionally-unaffected, advice. I have a couple links below that are interesting.
Anyway.. on to the issue of panic.
I am not seeing it. I am seeing concern and some over-reaction. Definitely some opportunism. But over-reaction is NOT panic. Even with the reality that some people seem ready to fight over toilet paper, it seems most people are annoyed and frustrated with our need to live with a new, albeit temporary, normal. And many are fearful - but even being fearful is NOT panic!
I believe over the next week or two (or three), most people will settle into how life looks and works.
I was at the store yesterday picking up coffee and a few other items. Everyone was friendly, happy enough, and expressing how "crazy" it was. On the way home, I noticed people playing at the park with their kids, people riding bikes, and in the neighborhoods, people walking and enjoying a respite in our always needed rain.
What I missed in all of that was panic.
We live a pretty idealistic and privileged life in the US. We haven't really had anything akin to rations since WWII. We DO NOT do well with doing without. Spoiled? Eh.. whatever. We just aren't used to it, so this feels odd. It can be unnerving.
Any time there are restrictions on ANYTHING, there is a collective, WTF!
The reality is if we allow the disease to spread without any filtering, we would be consigning people to death unnecessarily and exacerbating the issue by reducing the number of care workers we have. We'd survive if we let the disease run its course, so those who call everything an "over-reaction" are accurate in that this is NOT the end of the world. But that doesn't mean action is not prudent. Even inconvenient action.
We are not stopping the disease as much as attempting to put a governor on it. I'm curious to see how it works.
For my part, I plan to live life within normal restrictions, attempt to help those who are more restricted, support local businesses where I can, and try to be less annoyed and frustrated than I often am. Yep, I'm guilty of being annoyed with the situation all the time. My band was going to be playing some music soon and THAT has been squashed for now.
As previously mentioned, I've worked from home for nearly 25 years. I've already offered assistance to a few others who need to learn to do the same. Happy to offer insight if you are in that position. I am aware that the effect on me will be secondary, as a ripple.
My unofficial, non-professional, who the heck am I, advice:
- Share some toilet paper with those who need it - you can likely spare a square.
- Pay attention to rational sites for disease information. CIDRAP and John Hopkins are good places to start.
- Don't obsess on the news. This is a long-game play and it will just make you exhausted. 24 news cycles or political pundits are never positive. They can't sell ads or books without strife; it's just the nature of news.
- Do something for fun. I'm recording and playing music and smooching on my lover when I can.
- Don't share memes unless you fact-check and they are likely to make a true difference. Which is to say, don't share memes. Unless they involve kittens or are wry and sarcastic.
- And DO NOT DARE BUY ALL THE COFFEE! I'll find you. I promise!!
A serious issue
What we do see is that our infrastructure, including public health, is woefully under-prepared. We can go back MANY administrations to recognize that infrastructure is rarely taken seriously. I hope that people come together to force the long-view on politicians who typically use dog-whistles to create fear in their constituents but enact zero policies for true change. Whether that is immigration or gender-neutral bathrooms, the big issues that will help the middle-class (and help the country) are, in my opinion:
which no politician runs on because it is a 20+ year, super-expensive, set of projects covering: transportation, water, food, power, digital, and public health.
My God! People... look at information, not punditry. We can both afford it and need it. Hybrid system at minimum. This isn't a radical idea.
We have been falling behind other industrialized nations for years. Listen, we have amazing education - but in pockets only. If we improve delivery, effectiveness, and tech/science focus, we strengthen the society as whole.
Middle-class Income Growth:
Trickle-down economics has proven useless in this area. Creating stronger consumers (using the three previous issues) will grow our middle-class - which has its real roots in FDR's New Deal. Prior to that, a lot of people still pooped in holes. Just sayin'
Okay.. that's it. Take care kids.