During the past weeks of COVID, it’s been like someone took a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle and tossed the pieces up into the air. And for good measure burned the box with its cover image of what the completed puzzle looks like….
The pandemic has uncovered fault lines, predicaments of unsustainability and short-sightedness. The virus starts as a hidden contagion, but manifests with debilitating physical and fiscal symptoms. Perhaps not surprisingly, it has also caused episodes of social contagion — conspiracy-mongering and delusions spread by embedded hostility to science and rationality. Misconceptions and half-truths are perilous multipliers, worsening the coronavirus threat. Fantasies prevail, emanating from on high. Thankfully, it’s not all bad…
The Good. As the country, families, and individuals try to reassemble the puzzle by identifying pieces and putting them back into order, we’ve seen some good. Even now, early in the turmoil, there have been silver linings. We’ve discovered that the key and essential workers, those forming the border of the puzzle, may be different than the ones we expected. Health care providers rightly belong here as they wage a battle on the front lines, risking their health to take care of others. But there are also the grocery store employees, stocking shelves, accepting payments for essentials, and answering questions: “Where’s the TP?”. Trash collectors make sure garbage gets hauled away. Behind-the-scenes employees ensuring access to our basic needs for food, water, electricity and connectivity. Creativity is a bright spot. Figuring out ingenious ways to connect with others, learning how to minimize the spread of illnesses, and neighbors helping neighbors. It’s never been as clear: we’re all connected. .
The Sad. All the patients whose lives, illnesses, and sometimes remaining days are taking place in isolation. And families forced to memorialize loved ones from a distance. Disruptions and disappointments. Plans postponed or cancelled: school commencements with student expectations of celebrating graduations and proms. Brides and grooms whose weddings have been put on hold. Olympic athletes and all who support their endeavors. Through-hikers on the Appalachian Trail.
The Stupid. The potential for epidemic had been predicted for years. Public health specialists sounded warning, trying to draw attention to this issue. Now, we pay attention. Denial, delusion, and delay resulted in lost time. The virus spread and caught us off guard. Instead of drawing from a stockpile of essential materials, first responders are scrounging and re-using masks and asking for donations. Demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) — the masks, gloves and gowns that provide a first-line barrier — has exceeded supplies. Really?
Any list is incomplete. Add a comment [below or on Facebook] with your own examples of “The good. The sad. The stupid.”
Who envisioned 2020, a year of vision, enfolding as it has. [This is where epidemiologists and virologists and even filmmakers can say: “I told you so!”] In this time of heartbreak and hope, we have a chance to re-conceive and rebuild. Let’s remember the lessons learned. Don’t let this time of penance be for nothing. What picture on the box makes sense? What are the essential pieces? Who will oversee the efforts? Some assembly is required.
© Joan S Grey, 17 APR 2020 ∞
IndexCardCure™: From adversity, opportunity