Ok, enough with the panic. By now we are all almost qualified epidemiologists. A million times now we have heard, studied and researched about the virus, why it is different, how it propagates, and how to deal with it in general (and if you haven’t, please do – check the official advice for UK and US). We know what we have to do, which is basically wash our hands and stay at home. Doomsday is not coming anytime soon, and here you’ll find some reasons why:
1. We already have a lot of survivors
Check the live data to see figures for recovered cases. About 96.7% survive (source) or over 99.5% if you’re under 50 (source). Ok, it is a lottery that nobody wants to win, and it can be devastating if it does reach a loved one. But we have to deal with things as they come: worrying too much can build stress and make us less effective in dealing with what we currently have in front of us. So wash your hands, keep your grandma safe and stay positive: all the social structures will remain in place once this is over. Even doomsday preppers say it’s not end game. One day, pretty soon, we will all be back to talking about the weather.
In the Plague game, to win (playing as the virus), you need to eradicate every single human in the planet. Sorry Coronavirus, but you have lost that battle!
2. We have been through worse
Was I the only one to research about Black Death when I saw how this was going? I hope not – but in any case, it can be selfishly comforting to see that we are doing waaaay better than that, and we are not going to get anywhere even remotely close. Back then, it killed 30% to 60% of the population in Europe – if we could meet any of the survivors, they would laugh at the global outcry for an overblown flu where most people heal in less than a week with paracetamol, lemon and honey. Spanish flu might seem like a closer relative – fun fact: it didn’t originate in Spain, but actually most likely in the US – however, we are much more prepared now. Getting whole countries to stay at home was a bit more challenging in 1918 I World War circumstances – Netflix and memes weren’t as popular back then.
3. We can stay in touch with everyone
Think of the 14th Century poor peasant in plague times. Back then, your world was your village. Whatever happened outside didn’t matter much and whoever moved out of it disappeared from your life – they may be healthy, but who knows?
However, nowadays we know instantly if our friend in the opposite hemisphere bought toilet paper – we may be going a bit too far in sharing information, but hey, we are definitely able to stay in touch. We can keep our social bonds together, and also send and ask for help anytime – there are options even for seniors who are not as tangled in the social networks as us.
Our village is spread across the world wherever there’s internet connection. Anytime, we can take the digital version of a chair to the street – Facebook/Skype/Whatsapp/etc – and gather, like the old ladies in my hometown’s summer evenings, sitting down to gossip with the neighbours of our choice while criticising anyone who passes by. So let’s take advantage and enjoy the evening together.
4. We are well informed
Though the beginnings of the outbreak in China could have been a bit more transparent, nowadays even if a country tries, there is a limit to how much information they can hide from the world – e.g. we all had a little ironic smile when the Iranian deputy of Health, that denied covering up the cases, was confirmed positive a couple days later. We can share the experience from one country to another to learn any necessary lessons – right, Boris?
Also, at a personal level, we have access to a lot of information that will help us get over the self-isolation times – and maybe even take advantage of it; for example, see our list of lockdown resolutions.
5. We are all united against it
The troll community has taught us a lot of what humanity can do if we join forces – even if just to see the world burn. Ask the research vessel Boaty McBoatface, whose name was left to an open competition; the mass collaboration to get Taylor Swift to play for a school for the deaf, among a few other 4chan community ‘achievements’.
If this is just for a laugh, imagine what we can do when things get serious. Nothing joins more than a common enemy – see how all Brits traditionally bond over complaining about the weather. And if we are smart enough, once we get over this, maybe we can keep it going and tackle climate change together? Let’s come back to that in a couple months. Coronavirus is doing its bit to help in the meantime.
See? It’s not all that bad 🙂 Any other positive thoughts?
Stay safe, stay sane!