Pandemics of My Life

When the Coronavirus first started making it rounds in the media cycle I didn’t think much of it. In my almost 31 years of life there has been Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Ebola, Zika Virus and several others that have come and gone with as much panic. Countries are shut down, every sporting events are canceled and everything is being raided from store shelves.

With all those other ‘pandemics’ they were mostly out of sight and out of mind for me. There was media coverage and plenty who suffered but it didn’t seem to change my everyday life…except for one. Swine Flu affected two people in my life when that ‘pandemic’ hit. At the time my college girlfriend got it first. She seemed pretty run down and bed ridden, but nothing worse than any other affliction. I never tried to avoid it and figured if I got H1N1 and would deal with the consequences, but luckily I was immune to it.

Then my brother got Swine Flu. He seemed fine but wasn’t allowed at school so he was quarantined for several days. Since I seemed immune I spent a lot of time with him since he had to be stuck in his room. My dad spent the time at home with him. Pops was on the show Thursday and said he was confident Tyler would be fine, but I’d imagine there was at least some initial panic with it hitting so close to home, but he made a full recovery.

Even with people close to me getting Swine Flu it was really just a few sick days and nothing else, so yet again it didn’t seem that serious. Now we found ourselves neck deep in the Coronavirus and there’s plenty of panic. Despite all those other ‘pandemics’ we haven’t seen these types of cancellations and public panic. Why is this one different and people freaking out in such a major way?

The symptoms aren’t that severe, the mortality rate isn’t as high as the common flu but yet everything is getting shut down. I think because it is so easily spread and doing such on a global scale there is a rush to try and combat it so it doesn’t mutate and become a new common annual affliction to deal with. A big part of it may also be the complacency of afflictions we’ve been dealing with year and year out compared to this new one. There’s no clue and more uncertainty with it and that means more panic.

I think there is also historical context in terms of the global spread that makes it more worrisome and fearful. The cold and flu, while it happens around the world, aren’t thought of the same way. Meanwhile, the Coronavirus started in China and has spread across the world in just a few weeks. Being foreign and seen on the global scale all at the same time creates a different kind of fair.

Ultimately, I think it’s important to remember all the ‘pandemics’ we’ve been through as people of the world before and have come through. Whether you’re afraid or still think it’s overblown the key is still be smart. America is a country of workaholics, we don’t take vacation time or sick days. The majority of people seem to also think a visit to the doctor’s office is worth it unless it’s serious, myself included. Health insurance is something the country is struggling with to pay for those visits and make preventative health care more of a priority.

Despite the panic I do believe this pandemic is serious like the others, people will suffer unfortunately, but I also think we’ll make it through just as we have every other time. Seeing celebrities like Tom Hanks, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell made it seem more real as I don’t really recall celebrities suffering from the previous one. Be smart, wash your hands and we’ll persevere through just like every other time.