As we get report after report on the Coronavirus as it spreads across the globe, our minds get filled with information about something that may or may not affect or infect us. The fact that the virus represents a global threat is almost beyond comprehension, as we normally think in much more simple terms . . . we, us, the family, co-workers, the town, the state, the country. That adds up to about 330,000,000 people, and we’re the third largest country in the world. But we’re told that the virus is a global threat, which means it goes well beyond us, it has the potential to affect or infect the entire world population, up to 7,700,000,000 people; over 23 times larger than our entire country’s population.
We’re also told that the virus affects old worse than the young and men worse than women, but perhaps there may be variations in severity based on our blood types. As the medical scientists exhaust themselves looking for solutions to the problems being caused by the virus, they find some hope that perhaps some existing older medicines may have some curative potential, but urge caution until some controlled studies can validate the assumptions. Others have worked to develop new solutions but can’t be sure until they go through accelerated but rigorous testing . . . time becomes the critical issue.
The various levels of our government take steps they believe will prevent or limit the spread of the virus. Many of these are radical, but believed to be necessary to limit the infection’s spread. At the federal level, entry into this country by citizens of other highly infected countries has been halted. Individual States have placed limits on personal and business activities beyond anything that has ever been done before. Many businesses have had to close or severely cutback their operations as the country strives to limit personal contact interaction. And, at the federal level, work has been undertaken to ensure that individuals and families and businesses can have somewhat of a sustaining government provided income in order to prevent a total collapse of our personal-business-national financial structure.
What much of this tells us is that there is no way of knowing who might be susceptible to the virus or from whom or how they will become infected. To this point, our leaders have taken strong steps to prevent people from countries with high infection rates from entering this country. While this activity can have a negative affect on international commerce, and perhaps governmental relations, it is a positive step in limiting the potential for people who have the virus to spread it to our citizens.
As the virus is progressing, across the entire world, we are experiencing needs that we have never before had to address. For example, did we ever think that the states would have the ability to tell people not leave their home? Did you ever think that a mayor or a governor could insist that restaurants be closed to on-premises customers? Or that a governor could effectively “lock down” an entire state, essentially limiting the movement of every citizen? These actions are intended to limit or prevent interaction among the citizens so as to reduce the spread of the virus. Until such time as there is a workable medical solution to the virus, these actions are necessary . . . they are not solutions, they are designed to reduce the spread of the virus; limiters.
We are watching as many in our government and in our businesses and medical services are working diligently to find solutions to the myriad problems that the virus has presented. When it is over, there will be a mountain of information on what to do and what not to do when other situations are presented. We will have gained experience that will guide us through future crises. That experience will save countless amounts of time and effort because we will have learned by the results of our actions.
In addition to the medical issues and needs that will be improved, we will also review and consider the impact of the experience on our government, our businesses, and our individuals. We will have the opportunity to document the experiences of each sector and be able to develop more direct and effective plans to deal with any future similar incident — not just for us but for the entire world. In the long run, future similar devastation will be prevented.
Keep your distance. Wash your hands.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident. He may be reached at email@example.com)