early Covid-19 reflections
This is a new experience for absolutely everyone — an undeniable source of new thoughts and reflections. My time has been consumed with keeping up with the news and reading the thoughts of others. This is where my brain is at right now, within the substantially-sized thought bubble of COVID-19.
(please note: cases have risen significantly and scientific findings have surfaced incredibly since this was written).
1. We are all connected.
If coronavirus proves anything at all, it is how connected the human population is. The fact that this global pandemic—with three hundred and seven thousand, seven hundred and twenty confirmed cases as of right now—is only transferable via touch, is insane. Every single human with coronavirus is connected to every single other human with coronavirus in some way. And each one can be carefully traced back to one single, common source. It reminds me of the spread of the human race; but this global web of connections was formed within the span of just a few months. What if every person who got COVID could see a list of names, including the person who gave it to them, the person who gave it to that person, and so on, leading all the way back to the single source. Or if they could see a constantly growing visual web of every COVID case in the world and how each one connects to every other one. You would be on the same map as Tom Hanks and Kevin Durant.
2. Our actions have impact.
Maybe one human decided to go to a party one day, infecting another human who went on the train the next day, infecting another human who went to hang out with his friends that evening, infecting another human who visits their grandfather the next day, infecting him. If we could comprehend how much impact our littlest actions have the potential of creating, I think some of us would be treating social distancing very differently. No one wants their partying to have contributed to someone's grandfather passing away from COVID. But, that's how connected our world is and that's how a connected world works.
3. time. we asked for time.
It is nowhere near a miracle; most would call it the exact opposite. People are dying. People are out of jobs and school. People are scared and lonely and uncertain. But picking and choosing specifics of this present moment, is this not exactly what we've been asking for and never imagined could actually come true? For the past few years, some of us have been asking time to slow down. Life was going by so incredibly fast and we were watching it all happen before us. We never really got time to stop and breathe. I realized that my family would never all be at home for a long period of time again. There are so many projects that we've had brewing in our minds that we always said we would never have time to do. The concept of time had occupied my mind so often in recent years. It was the one thing I wanted more of, and I was learning to accept that it was something that I would never have full control over. But suddenly everything in the world has stopped, except for a microscopic virus. Families are home. Work is at home. School is at home. The cars are off the streets. The office skyscrapers have turned off their lights. The stadiums are quiet and the humans are not constantly surrounded by other humans. And there is time. Yes, I recognize that so many people are suffering as I sit in my bed and type this right now. Yes, I recognize that I have the privilege to say that I can come home to a happy, reliable home environment where I have space and the allowance to breathe and move and focus. No, this is not what we asked for. But there is beauty in how, despite the chaos, it seems like the world has slowed down just for a little bit, giving everybody some much-needed time to just breathe. I say we use this time wisely.
4. Coronavirus does not discriminate.
It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, royal or homeless, white or colored, Asian or European. That's why the whole world is suddenly involved. Finally, it's one thing that no one can escape. Actually, that's not entirely true. Technically, COVID-19 is available to everyone. But who is actually more likely to get it? Less wealthy people may be living in more crowded, smaller spaces while the wealthier are living in spacious environments in which it is easier to self-isolate. Less wealthy may need to continue going to work or may struggle more once they are out of a job, while the wealthier may be more comfortable working from home or not even have a need to work. Countries with higher population density have a greater likelihood to spread the disease than those that have less natural human contact in the population. Maybe coronavirus itself doesn't discriminate directly, but indirectly, it does contain inequalities.
5. We're all on the same team.
COVID-19 is not like other wars we've fought—there's no choosing sides. It's just humankind against a virus. All humans on one side for once. All humans fighting one, single, common enemy. That's pretty rare.
This is a crisis. And with a crisis, comes opportunity. I cannot sit here and watch this all happen without at least trying to help relieve some of what is going on. But this is a very real problem, and it requires very real solutions. And time is a huge player when it comes to crises while we're experiencing them in the moment. Understanding the level of the other players in this game, who are all there for the right reasons, it's difficult to know where it is most appropriate and feasible to insert myself into finding solutions.
7. contextualizing what feels abstract.
Coronavirus is the only thing on anyone's mind right now. It's the first topic of every conversation and every news article. we hear about incredible statistics of cases around the world, countries' healthcare systems failing to respond to the numbers, and celebrities catching the bug. But I don't actually know anyone personally who has contracted COVID. That is something I am so thankful for. But also, it still feels so abstract, so huge and worldly that I still am unable to contextualize it, to comprehend how personal and life-affecting it is. I don't by any means whatsoever want the people in my circles to be infected. I simply want to be able to empathize with those affected; its expansiveness makes that difficult.