I wash my hands. I use hand sanitizer. I keep my surfaces clean. I try not to touch my face (which isn’t easy when my beard gets long and itchy). We have enough food and supplies at home. I keep informed with valid sources. I read the emails that every company I’ve ever done business with sends me about how they’re handling the COVID-19 crisis. I know to stay home when I’m sick. Before we go to a place where people gather, we check to see if it’s still open.
I’ve been through plenty of disasters before, big and small, newsworthy and personal. The personal ones hit the hardest. COVID-19 is newsworthy. It causes concern and inconvenience. But when you or someone you love gets sick, that’s when it becomes big and personal.
But as I look at this pandemic, I remember that we as humans are an adaptive and resourceful bunch. When confronted by any sort of crisis, we find a way to get through it and grow from the experience. I think of my parents who made it through the Great Depression and World War II. They did without, either to survive or because they needed to unite to fight common enemies. They pulled together and shared what they had.
I’ve seen people come together many times to overcome disasters. First responders who rushed in to save victims of terrorist attacks. Restaurants staying open to feed hungry people during natural disasters. “Everyone for themselves” won’t get you through a situation that requires us to work together. Cooperation and empathy enabled us to survive as a species. They’ll get us through the coronavirus crisis we’re in now.
That’s why I have hope that we will get through this together. And hope is what we need to battle fear and disinformation. We get the facts, face the truth, do what we must, and help each other when we can. This pandemic won’t last forever. But the qualities of courage, compassion, and mutual support endure. By coming together, we will survive this crisis and become better for it.