Opinion: Now Is Not The Time To Panic

Opinion: Now Is Not The Time To Panic

Opinion: Now Is Not The Time To Panic

Everywhere you look, there”s a story or a warning about Covid-19. The media is rife with stories about the virus, some of them twisted and spun to cause fear. In parts of the country, grocery store shelves are bare where toilet paper was once displayed. Schools are closing and events are being canceled. Yes, Covid-19 is serious and we need to remember that. But now is not the time to panic.

It’s hard not to panic, however. How could it not when we’re seeing well-established events like Boston’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade being canceled? Or the NBA shuttering games for the foreseeable future. Then there’s the news that flights from Europe will be stopped starting tomorrow. This isn’t the world we’re used to.

And people panic.

It doesn’t matter how often medical specialists tell us what we should be doing to safeguard ourselves. Things are different and we, as a species, don’t like change. It upsets our sense of well-being and we panic.

Or at least that is our first instinct.

That is when we need to take a deep breath, pause and think.

There is a quote from Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel Dune that applies in this instance:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.”

And that is what we must do. But we must also use common sense. It starts in our own homes and goes from there.

This is something that was brought home to me the other day. My mother is in the high risk group for contracting Covid-19 because of her age. She’s in good health. She’s active and she volunteers each week at the airport as an “ambassador”. Her assignment there is inside security at the international terminal. There she interacts with passengers, often handling their tickets or shaking hands. In other words, she comes into contact with people who are either coming from areas where Covid-19 is active or who might have been in contact with others from those areas.

This week, when her day to volunteer came around, we had a serious talk. My usually level-headed mother was determined to volunteer. Her fear wasn’t in coming into contact with passengers. It was coming into contact with people at the grocery store, etc., who she didn’t know and didn’t know where they’d been. It wasn’t until I pointed out those same concerns applied to the airport that she really thought about it. After more discussion, we decided she would give herself a break from the airport for a couple of weeks. It is better to play it safe.

But that discussion turned into a preparedness discussion. I don’t know about everyone else, but growing up in a household where one parent was a wee child during the Depression, our pantry was always stocked. It might not have been filled to overflowing, but we always have had at least a couple weeks’ worth of food. But now Mom, who is younger than my Dad by almost 9 years, looked at the pantry and started making a list of things we needed.

Or, to be more accurate, things she thought we needed. Why? Because she was responding to the sensationalized media reports and, while not panicking, worrying. It took a bit of time but we went over our stocks and made a better list of things to get. Most were replacements I already had on the list. Very little were actual food stuffs. There are a couple of things still on the list but they have been ordered and will arrive over the next few days.

Stop and think. Be objective. Think. (Yes, I know I said that twice.) Most of all, don’t panic.

Panic is why there are shortages of toilet paper in some areas and yet food stuffs are still on the shelf. The macabre in me chuckles at the thought of people stocking up on cases of TP and not making sure they have enough food in the house to last for a couple of weeks.

Panic is why some people–and I know of at least one family–are bugging out and buying isolated property to live on. This family, however, is still on the power grid and doesn’t have a reliable back-up power system. But they filled a second freezer with meat and frozen veggies. And looked at me like I’d grown a second (or third) head when I asked why. This was their move to survive the infrastructure going down because of Covid-19. The power grid would go down and we’d be without food. I didn’t roll my eyes but I pointed out that if things got that bad, their freezers wouldn’t help because they didn’t have back-up generators. How did they expect the freezers to work without power?

That is an extreme reaction, but it shows what panic will do to people. Another example is how so many bought up surgical masks even before the virus reached their communities. What they didn’t think about is they would need not only masks but eye protection if they were going to try to prevent infection by other people. Of course, many of those buying up the masks are the same ones we see pictures of wearing the masks below their noses.

Think and plan.

Not because Covid-19 is going to end civilization as we know it but because it will disrupt certain supply chains. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I really need to take that trip right now? (Is it worth the risk?)
  2. Do I have at least a one to two month supply of any necessary medications, especially prescriptions? (very necessary since so many of our medications come from China)
  3. Do I have at least two weeks of food/water/whatever in stock? (Not because we are going to see long term food shortages but because of the possibility of self-quarantine or simply playing it smart and not going into crowded areas more often than needed)
  4. Am I keeping a regular check on family members/friends who fall into the high risk group?
  5. Do I have a means of sanitizing my hands if I do go out?
  6. The corollary to that is, what measures are the local grocery stores, service stations, banks, etc., taking to insure they are doing all they can to prevent the spread of the virus?

Think, plan and don’t panic.

But most of all, don’t be a dick. Don’t be like the father who took a daughter to a father-daughter dance after his older daughter returned home from Italy and was already on self-isolation. It doesn’t matter whether the medical authorities told the family to remain home or not. Common sense should have told him he needed to make sure his entire family took precautions. Don’t put your personal wants ahead of common sense.

I’m not saying we should isolate ourselves. But we should be aware of our surroundings. We should be smart about where we go and when. Most of all, we must not panic because that will cause more problems than it solves. The facts are out there. Educate yourselves and your families.

And, while you’re at it, if your state and local representatives and senators are more concerned about politicizing the crisis than solving it, remember that when it comes time to vote in November. This isn’t a Democrat vs Republican or Never-Trumpers vs Trumpers issue. This is a public health issue and needs to be treated as such.

Let’s be smart, folks. Covid-19 isn’t going to be the end of the world.

But don’t forget to wash your hands.

Welcome, Instapundit readers!

Featured Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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18 Comments
  • […] and taking reasonable precautions. Along these lines, I have an opinion piece about the virus up at Victory Girls this […]

  • GWB says:

    Now Is Not The Time To Panic
    What?! Why are you advocating procrastination?
    If it will ever be time to panic, the earlier done, the better!

  • GWB says:

    Common sense should have told him…
    Well, common sense is so rare as to be a superpower.

    I’m curious as to why UV hasn’t been noted as a possible disinfectant? Is it effective?

    • Thomas says:

      Depending on the light source, UV takes up to several minutes to sterilize a surface. That’s great if you have a UV box to put small items in (like toothbrushes, combs, cell phones, maybe keys) but not so great for daily cleaning of high touch surfaces like doorknobs and counter tops.

    • Amanda Green says:

      GWB, I”d wondered the same thing.

      Thomas, Thanks for the explanation.

  • Anna A says:

    I can see reasonable precautions, but one thing that I am concerned about which doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s screen, is the increased isolation of people. We are more isolated, and the younger generation tends to do more without face-to-face interactions. We probably need more than we get, and if we get in the habit of increased social distance, will we be able to regain it?

    And deaths from isolation will not be counted.

    • Scott says:

      My concern is how the govt is shutting down sporting events, or any other crowds, telling people when and where they can go, etc, and people are going along with it like sheep… Those inclined towards tyranny are taking full advantage of this situation (which they are generally hyping up to hurt President Trump), to see just how far they can push without resistance…
      Those who love Liberty should be far more concerned about things such as this than the virus itself.

      • Amanda Green says:

        While a lot of people are going along with it, I don’t think your “as sheep” comparison is correct. Most of us are doing it out of common sense and a sense of caution. But you are right that we need to be aware of what actions are being mandated. However, we also need to watch what the pols are doing when it comes to funding for the fight against the virus. Already we are getting reports of how the Dems are trying to tie things like abortion funding to the testing funding. Or your have AOC wanting the Feds to bail out student loans because it is helping businesses hit by the virus. That sort of action is what we need to keep our eyes on. The politicians–from both sides of the aisle–aren’t above using this situation for to push their own agends.

        • Scott says:

          There are definitely reasonable precautions / changes that people should go along with Amanda, though the wholesale cancellation of any gatherings of people and things like that are ones that should be questioned. Most of the truly frightening stuff is coming from where you’d expect, the very blue coasts.

          • Amanda Green says:

            Scott, I agree–again, to an extent. The problem is that we have idiots who decide that even though they might have been exposed and the smart thing to do is stay home, their wants are more important. Look at the father who took his younger daughter to a dance even though the older daughter had already been asked to self-isolate after coming home from Italy and exhibiting symptoms. We have a school impacted locally when a parent was potentially exposed because they work at a doctor’s office. I’d rather cancel a few activities than risk someone thinking they don’t need to follow the recommendations.

            That said, I do believe we are seeing over-reacting. By the Average Person, by the government and most especially by the media that never met a crisis it didn’t want to take advantage of.

  • Chuba says:

    “Panic is why there are shortages of toilet paper in some areas and yet food stuffs are still on the shelf. “

    Went to the laundromat earlier this evening, and while the dryer was in a thirty-five minute run, I drove over to the nearby Walmart Neighborhood Store. The racks with toilet paper were just about empty, and so were the racks where bottled water was stacked. There is no rice, and canned food items weren’t as plentiful as they usually are. Something I didn’t expect was that there were only a few bottles of bleach left.

    Being in Silicon Valley, I would have thought that the majority of people here have properly functioning brains, but maybe I’m wrong…

  • James ONeil says:

    Panic?
    So! I’m 81 I’m perhaps more at risk than many.

    On the other hand living up here on top of the world, North Pole, Alaska, my chance of exposure to the beervirus is likely far lower than many.

    Based on observation of those around me, I’m pretty sure I’m going to die of something, sooner or later, and, while I’d like my demise to be at least a wee a bit later, I don’t plan to wrap myself in bubble wrap and give up living to put off dying (Though I will admit to at least giving passing consideration to pickling myself with alcohol, my home brewed White Night’s Stout and/or John Jameson’s, but only a passing consideration.).

    Panic? Can’t think of any reason to do so.

    & yes Amanda, I got a good laugh out of the fourth horseman too.

  • GWB says:

    Two bits have had me thinking outside the box the last couple of days….

    First is the concern with how long it takes to get a vaccine tested and through production. (The standard is such that the pandemic will be over by the time a Wuhan Flu vaccine is produced in any quantity.)

    Second was a question about “How would the Marines handle this?” (The article was really just a “Don’t freak out” bit that I thought didn’t answer the question in the headline at all.)

    I think most Americans have developed baseline assumptions that need examining. We need to think outside the box.
    – What is a vaccine? It’s a weakened form of the virus/bacteria introduced into the body so that your immune system can build the antibodies it needs if the real thing comes along.
    – How would the Marines have handled this back in my day? The moment anyone in the unit got sick, they would have gone on a 30-mile ruck march in the hottest, most humid environment they could get at that moment in time. (Technically, snow is humidity.) And keep powering through like that until everyone was done with the sickness.

    Measles party, anyone? We tend to forget that a “measles party” is just a form of vaccination (though a riskier and less certain one).

    One of the big issues is the number of available facilities for those truly at risk. So, why not have Wehan Flu (Or “Winnie the Flu” as Sarah Hoyt linked this morning on Instapundit) parties? Coordinate them so you can (to some extent) control the spread and maybe keep the numbers reasonable at any one time. This would also allow you to shut down parts of your local economy in bits, rather than a mass Sick Day two weeks long, so that your streets look like NYC in I Am Legend? And, of course, people begin to develop some measure of immunity.

    Crazy? Maybe. But how crazy is our current response?

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