"Grant me the
serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and
wisdom to know the difference."
... American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, 1933
COVID-19 is MUCH more dangerous than the common flu,
but we can still afford a positive perspective on life.
Please, allow me the opportunity to defend that callous remark, especially if you or a loved one have been impacted by COVID-19.
COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the novel (new) coronavirus) is NOT like the common flu. It is much more dangerous.
The risk of COVID-19 is exacerbated by people who assume COVID-19 is like the common flu and do not treat COVID-19 like the threat it is.
COVID-19 has a fatality rate somewhere between 10 times and 30 times that of the common flu. And that is the average. In some age groups, the ratio is much higher.
COVID-19 can go undetected for up to 14 days once it infects someone, so they could be walking around thinking there is nothing wrong, all the while passing it on to many more people.
COVID-19 has an unchecked rate of spread, unlike the common flu, which gives COVID-19 the potential to affect many more people than the common flu.
See the 6-minute video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVIGhz3uwuQ for a lyman's language explanation of the above and other facts. The video is produced by Health Canada, and uses facts, not hyperbole, to help you understand COVID-19.
A recent article in the Atlantic daily, which I shared through a tweet at https://twitter.com/RichardACantin/status/1243950654583984128?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw (please re-tweet as often as you can) talks specifically about how urgent it is for each of us to take this threat seriously and do what we can to help our health-care system do what it can in this situation
"There are now only two groups of [people].
Group A includes everyone involved in the medical response,
whether that’s treating patients, running tests, or manufacturing supplies.
Group B includes everyone else, and their job is to buy Group A more time.
Group B must now “flatten the curve” by physically isolating themselves from other people
to cut off chains of transmission."
Ed Yong, a Staff Writer at the Atlantic Daily
"How the pandemic will end"
The Canadian health-care system could not handle a full-scale outbreak, so, although we are not stopping the disease by isolating, we are allowing the health-care system to try and handle it at a scale they can manage. If we do not do this, there will be more deaths with people who get infected, and other deaths by people who needed treatment for other maladies, but could not get it due to an overloaded health-care system.
So this post is NOT to minimize the risk, damage or stress caused by COVID-19.
However, there is the potential for over-reaction, which in itself makes the issue even worse than it would otherwise be.
People buying and hoarding medical-grade face masks create a situation where health-care personnel cannot get the supplies they need, increasing the risk of fewer health-care personnel to help the needy. And don't even get me started on toilet paper.
So yes, take this seriously. But let's remember, that we are humans, social animals that need to interact with other people, even in times like this. So use whatever non-face-to-face options you have available to you to call, email, video-conference, ... those around you.
And while you are doing that, I suggest remembering the serenity prayer which started this article.
Do what you can, and know your limits.
What you can do, includes, when appropriate, dealing with each other in a way that makes each other feel better, not worse about life.
With that in mind, I present a 20-minute TedTalk by Andrew Tarvin at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdZAMSyn_As where he talks about how each of us can use humour to make our social interactions more enjoyable. Andrew talks about how, even he, a geek at heart, has been able to learn to use humour. He actually invested enough time and energy at learning humour, that he now does stand-up-humour as a living. And what he has learned along the way is:
- Humour is a skill that can be learned. "Fake it until you become it.";
- The standard tactic of impromptu comedy, which is to build on, not argue with, the other person (even hecklers),
can be applied using "yes, and ..." in everyday life to "help build understanding of others and build relationships";
- Misunderstandings can create a beautiful, different perspective on things, such as when his grandmother texted him WTF,
thinking WTF meant "Wow, That's Fun!". Imagine if the whole world used that interpretation.
Treat COVID-19 with the attention and care it deserves.
Treat each other with the compassion and joie-de-vivre that life needs.