Reflections in Crisis
“Do you think we are in a crisis?”
The answer came through the lens of a man who was born into the depression, knew what it was like not to have food on the table, survived polio, knew the impact of rationing on the home front, and from someone who had earned his wings as a paratrooper (with a couple of night jumps under his belt) — I think it’s safe to say a unique perspective by today’s standards.
His answer was ultimately, “No”.
There was an explanation that he’d never experienced anything like this before, and that not being able to get to his doctor’s appointments, unable to check in with the boys, unable to get ready for the upcoming golf season, and not wander to the store without concern of infection, was starting to weigh on him. A surreal situation that made it easy to loose track of time and difficult to pull away from the endless COVID 19 news. It was not a crisis from his perspective but then again something far from normal — something insidious that was draining both physically and mentally. Ultimately this question offers an insight into personal context and perspective because it’s very true to say front line healthcare workers or a family wrestling with the economic reality of a mortgage that’s due at the end of the month are very much dealing with a crisis.
This is an academic question that scratches at how we perceive the situation, are prepared for the situation, and how we are dealing with the situation. Covid 19 will follow the path of all infectious agents as it makes its way through the population, and as a community, we’ll work hard to change the trajectory of that curve by social distancing, good hygiene practices, and self isolation. Our actions are a direct effort to save lives and prevent our institutions from becoming overwhelmed — and are also a direct reflection of how we are handling this unprecedented situation. This is an inescapable reflection of who we are and our character in the face of a challenge. In the context of my small sphere I have seen people make re-usable face masks, donate to local food banks, help someone when they can’t make it to the pharmacy, and have watched people offer a supportive voice when the silence of self-isolation is deafening. All character traits to be emulated in my mind.
There are already whispers of us coming to the top of the curve, how we will turn society back on to something reflective of the way it used to be, and how the last eight weeks will echo into the next eight or nine months. We will all have a Covid 19 story that we’ll be eager to share or maybe just keep to ourselves upon reflection. As I mentioned to someone today we need to “gut this out for another three weeks” before we’re closer to having a conversation that doesn’t include a bubble of two meters. I will be very curious to ask what’s been learned for the next time.
Because most likely there will be a next time — probably around October or November.