Take a breath.
I know everyone and everything feels topsy-turvy right now, and it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. It’s okay to be concerned, to be stressed, to be fearless, to be disappointed. There are a million different ways to feel in this situation, and none of them are right or wrong.
What you don’t need to do is panic.
There’s been a lot of media exposure, a lot of fear mongering. A lot of worst case scenario talk and a lot of panic buying. I want to encourage you to stop buying into the system of fear. Of scarcity.
Take a breath. A deep one. Let it out slowly. Do it again.
This is nothing new. Viruses mutate. They have always mutated. They will always mutate. That is what viruses do.
Viruses, like all lifeforms, want to live. They change and adapt. They challenge our immunity. They are always more difficult for the elderly and immunocompromised to resist. They are kept at bay by good hygiene and common sense.
Right now, because it’s new, people do not have immunity to COVID-19. That’s why it spreads quickly and infects so many. This is how our immunity works and develops; a new threat enters the world, people catch it, and in this case the majority of people who contract it will recover. After they recover, they will have a natural immunity to the virus. Those who become mothers will likely pass along some level of passive immunity to the virus to their infants via colostrum (though of course we don’t have the data to know that for sure right now). COVID-19 will always exist, but it won’t ever be a “pandemic” again because a large portion of the population will have immunity against it. This is the age old cycle that has always and will always repeat itself when new viruses mutate.
This is not the first viral scare, nor will it be the last. This is not even the worst one. It’s simply one of the most publicized.
I have a lot of thoughts and feelings regarding the virus itself and the media, but I’ll keep those to myself. There is enough of that going around. Regardless, the message remains the same: this is not something over which to panic.
We should be cautious, as we would with any new virus, and do our best not to become vectors of the disease to those whose systems couldn’t handle it. But we should not be anxious.
So, again…take a breath.
Stop panic buying the toilet paper. You don’t need a gallon of hand sanitizer. Your house doesn’t need to be as sterile as a hospital surgical ward. In fact, it shouldn’t be. There’s a reason hospitals breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but I digress.
Leave some supplies for others. You know what you can absolutely live without? Toilet paper. You know what some people in the world live without on a regular, daily basis? Toilet paper. Disposable rags/napkins/towels. Disposable menstruation products. Clean freaking drinking water.
Hose your butt off in the shower if you have to, but stop adding to your personal Mount Everest of Toilet Paper. It’s irresponsible. It’s unnecessary. It’s selfish. It’s entitled. Leave something for your neighbor.
And instead of buying every last gallon of milk on the store shelves, try having a couple of weeks worth of food on hand on a regular basis. That doesn’t– and shouldn’t– look like panic-buying. That should look like adding a couple of extra non-perishables to your cart when you’re buying your regular groceries. It should look like keeping pantry staples on hand as a norm. It should look like buying the 5 lb bag of rice and storing it instead of the 1 lb bag. It should look like taking an active role in your food source whenever and however you can.
It’s okay if you’re stressed out. It’s okay if you’re just fed-up and ready for this to be over with (I’m right there with ya). It’s okay if you’re fighting the urge to block every single one of your facebook friends who incessantly share their hot takes.
Just take a breath.
This too shall pass.
*Tuberculosis is a bacteria and not a virus, but I’m using it here due to its pandemic nature when it was “new.” Bacteria and viruses have both been responsible for major health crises throughout history. Parasites as well, for that matter.