Whether we turn on the news, open our social media accounts or bump into neighbors while taking a walk, the only thing anyone wants to talk about is the coronavirus. It’s because we’ve never dealt with anything like this before.
People are scared, bored, anxious and curious about when this will all be over and what the devastating aftermath will be. People are worried about catching the virus themselves, or worse, their loved ones getting sick and not being able to recover. Some people have reported that they went to buy ammunition for their firearms, but it was sold out everywhere, just like toilet paper.
Although there is fear everywhere, I am not scared. Not just because of my faith in God, but also my faith in the American people. Americans tend to band together the most in times of crisis. I don’t think this will be any different. Usually, we come together after a terrible incident — 9/11, a hurricane, flood, etc.
This time, we’re coming together while the crisis is happening — slowly. Nevertheless, I still believe Americans will come together and overcome whatever obstacles we face as a nation.
One thing that we need to avoid is blaming other people. This illness is not the fault of the Chinese. It’s not God smiting anyone. It’s not the president’s fault.
One of the greatest things I have seen during this pandemic is President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo working together as leaders and human beings — not as politicians, not as Republicans and Democrats. Are they making all of the right decisions? That would probably be impossible, unless they were God. Being a leader is very difficult, especially in times like this. They are humans, just like we are. They have their own opinions, as well as the opinions of many experts around them.
There probably isn’t just one effective way of dealing with this situation. So, although we might all have opinions on what should be done, we are not in their position and have no idea what information they are getting from the “experts” and what variables they have to consider. It is better for us to pray for them and to focus on what we can do to help.
So, what can we do to help? For one, stay calm. This virus is what it is and we can do very little to control it. It is in the hands of the scientists, doctors and public leaders to find a cure/vaccine and help keep people safe in the meantime. We can be considerate of others, buying only what we need from the supermarkets, so that there is enough for everyone. Avoid buying food-stamp-approved food, so that those who need to pay by using food stamps can buy what they need.
We can keep the social distancing guidelines that our leaders are asking us to keep to slow this virus down to not overwhelm the health care system, thereby helping save the lives of those who might need ICU beds and ventilators.
For those of us who are fortunate enough to have jobs that can keep paying our salaries during this pandemic, we can support local businesses, which are at risk of losing everything when this is all said and done. The government is working out some ways to help get money into the hands of those who need it, but it might be too little too late for local business owners. They are taking a big hit right now and just hoping they can hold off long enough to be around after this is over.
We can look for the silver lining in all this, too. No, things are not normal right now. A lot of things have been canceled. So that means that we have more time on our hands. This is a great time to spend with our families. Many people have a list of things they wish they had time to do — that book we’ve been wanting to read, the garage we’ve been saying we are going to clean, that hobby we’ve put off for years. Let’s put our minds to it and do something beneficial, something to make us better people during this time. There are people and companies offering free lessons online because of social distancing. Take advantage of it.
Instead of waiting for someone to do something nice, let us be the ones to do something nice — something thoughtful for our fellow man, for a stranger. “Every man for himself” will leave only some men standing, but if we all come together, we can all survive this together.
Surviving this thing alone would mean that we have failed. We need every member of our community to survive and flourish for us to be able to say that we, as West Virginians, successfully endured and were victorious during the coronavirus outbreak.
This story will make the history books. We can write our own history now — the history our children and grandchildren will read about. Let’s make them proud of us.