Yesterday I’ve been preparing my biology homework and I stared at the word “Corvus” seriously thinking for a few seconds that it’s a new way of saying “coronavirus” because I’ve grown so accustomed to reading news about the pandemic.
The novel coronavirus discovered at the end of last year upended the lives of millions around the world and it continues to influence everyone in myriads of ways. As sad as it might be, many scientists believe that it is here to stay and that it will become a seasonal affliction coming and going in waves, just like flue does .
What does it mean for everyone? I think that we must prepare ourselves for quarantining as the new normal.
Why I decided to write this COVID-19 Essay
To some extent, this all is unprecedented: the measures that governments around the world have put in place, the panic-buying, the fear. There are other things killing people around the world, every day and on a larger scale. For example, heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the USA . Some people even think that everyone just overreacts to coronavirus threat, and there is nothing extraordinary happening.
However, according to some reports, every third person dying today in the US dies of COVID-19 . This is a sobering piece of information. Moreover, despite the predicted death rate of 2%, the actual COVID-19 death rate for the USA is about 5,7% . That means almost six people die of every hundred that contract the disease.
To some people that still doesn’t seem like much. After all, it’s not like Ebola with 50% of people dying, or even MERS with 34.4%. However, three major factors make COVID-19 special and dangerous:
- Extreme contagiousness
- Long incubation period
- A large number of so-called “silent carriers” (people who carry the virus without showing any symptoms at all)
If six out of hundred doesn’t seem much to you, think of this: without quarantine, masks, hand sanitizing, and all other measures that some people call “overreaction”, everyone will get sick eventually. The virus is this contagious. Dunbar’s number is 100. That is a number of stable relationships every one of us maintains comfortably (family, classmates, close neighbors, coworkers, etc.) That means you are likely to lose six of the people you know well to coronavirus. Are you willing to play this Russian roulette?
How our lives are going to be different
If we want to prevent this worst-case scenario, we must accept that some measures are here for good, while some of them will be recurring and put in place every time a new wave of the virus comes upon us.
This is how our lives are likely to change:
- Based on the number of cases at any given moment, there will be a set of measures in place, known to everyone: something like Green, Yellow, and Red alert, with code Red meaning immediate lockdown
- Etiquette rules are likely to change: instead of high-fiving, hugging, or shaking hands with people, we will be nodding, bowing, curtsying, hat-tipping, or possibly invent something entirely new
- Gloves and face-covering might become socially acceptable at all times and even influence fashion
- Some industries will suffer decrease (live shows, movie theaters, restaurants), while others will be on the rise (distance learning, streaming services, delivery, etc.)
Coronavirus Tips for Normal Life During Lockdowns
Since quarantine might become a recurring thing and normal rhythm of life (like academic year and summer break), it’s important to learn how to adjust to it and minimize possible damage.
Take care of your health
Do morning exercises at least, if you are totally confined and cannot leave the house for jogging or any other exercises you’d normally do. If you can – do leave the house. As long as you keep your social distance, no one is in danger.
Take care of your mental state
We are all anxious, we are torn from our normal lives, we worry about the safety of our loved ones, some of us lost their primary sources of income. Depression is likely on the rise, and so are the self-indulging practices, such as ice cream eating in bed or binge-watching TV. Find a “guilty pleasure” that works for you and don’t blame yourself. We all need a pick-me-up right now.
Keep in touch
No one likes to be isolated. Even introverts suffer from lockdown because they cannot see their family and closest friends. We are lucky because living in the 21st century we don’t have to be in the same room to see our loved ones and hear their voices. Create group chats for banter, video call your family, have parties or even fancy-dress evenings through videoconference apps. It doesn’t replace face-to-face interaction, but it helps.
Find a purpose
It is important to occupy ourselves to reduce anxiety. There are so many classes right now made free, crafts that can be ordered online, causes you can help! If you feel like doing nothing does nothing good for how you feel, find yourself a purpose! Maybe you can resume your guitar practice or start delivering groceries to your elderly neighbors.
By the way, thank you, coronavirus helpers, who have chosen to devote their time and effort to alleviating the burden for others. You are now on the frontlines, working under pressure and giving us all a better chance.
I believe that now is no time for skepticism and denial. We must face the challenge and accept that it might become part of our life for years.