WHY CORONAVIRUS CAN HELP US

Coronavirus has grabbed headlines across the globe. In countries like China, Italy and Iran have had devastating results of this terrible new disease. At the point of this post thousands of people have lost their lives because of it. There have been stranded cruise ships. There have been cases of prices being raised to insane amounts for products like hand sanitizer. Travel has become difficult and entire industries such as airlines are beginning to feel the economical fallout. Stores have seen shelves run bare of the most basic items as people fear quarintine. There is an increase in fear in everything from eating out at a restaurant to shaking hands.

None of these situations are ideal. The media has latched on to this and only increased the amount of fear that we are experiencing. According to the China CDC, fatality rates are 2.3%. Even that number is skewed. For example, death rates amoung those 80 and older is 14.8%, however, it falls to 0.4% if you are in your 40s and 0.2% in those ages 10 to 39. Even at 0.2% it is something to be concerned about no doubt. Thousands of people across the globe losing their lives to this disease is serious. Losing a lot of our elder who hold wisdom and guidance that would help our future is also very tragic.

How can any of this help us? What positive can we possibly take from a global pandemic? These are all great questions. According to the CDC, the above practices can go a long way to helping prevent you from contracting the coronavirus. Let us look at them one by one. The first is obvious – wash your hands. Do so, however, for at least 20 seconds using lots of friction. How many of us have really paid attention to the effort put into washing our hands? Not only can this help prevent the current issue we are concerned about, but several other health concerns as well. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. This is one a lot of do unconsciously. I know I often rub my eyes or stroke my beard when I am lost in thought. Covering your cough and sneeze with a tissue and then throwing that tissue away is also very important. Do not put it back in your pocket or leave it somewhere for someone else to throw away. Avoid contact with people who are sick and staying home when you are sick yourself. How often do we push ourselves because we have that project due at work, or worry about missing an important social engagement? I get it. I’ve been there. Sometimes we must practice some self-care to get back on track. Lastly, cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces. Again, this is something that should happen all of the time and would reduce the spread of a lot of health concerns.

The important positive you can take away from all of this is how to use the fear coronavirus has caused. Instead of causing us to go into a panic, let us use to remind us of maintaining or in some cases enacting healthy habits we should have been doing all along. Make a concentrated effort on personal hygiene. Make sure our work areas are clean and disinfected. Speaking of work, when we are sick make sure to take time off if we need. It may end up saving the use of sick time in the future. Let us be reminded to live a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise so that our immune systems are as strong as they can be. Develop an emergency plan with your family that includes what supplies to have on hand and looking after the sick and elderly. Remember to take needed precautions when traveling.

These are all things we should be doing but it may have taken an event such as the coronavirus to remind us how important they are. Fear can be a servant or a master. It is up to us to put any concerns that we have about this new illness to use for us and not against us. What I think the most important thing the coronavirus has reminded us of is the fact we are all human. In the last few years politicians, governments and leaders of all kinds have been trying to convince us that this group or that group is better than another. What a global pandemic such as this teaches us is at the end of the day we are all in this together. We are all human. It does not matter what city or country we come from. It does not matter what color we are. What matters is that we look out for our fellow humans. By doing so we will not only help contain this virus, we will also realize that important rule that helping other will end up benefiting us in the long run.

LESSONS FROM THE CIVIL WAR WE HAVE FORGOTTEN

The American Civil War (never really did understand that term) was about far more than just slavery. It represented rural verses city life. It pitted national governing against local governing. In broad terms, the southern way of living against the northern way of living. Of all of these issues the basis was the same, different people with strong ideological beliefs on both sides.

It can still be argued as to whether rural or city planning is better and healthier. I am sure there are benefits to both national and local governing. What I felt was really a no-brainer was dismissing the human rights of someone based on either the color of their skin or their ethnic upbringing. In today’s world of division, this can, and often does, include political and religious differences as well. While it is certainly ok and quite natural to disagree with each other on these issues, what is not acceptable is to vilify or dehumanize others who are or believe different than we.

As I tend to surround myself with people who are as accepting and open-minded as myself, these issues are not always front and center in my mind. In my own way I think of things like prejudice and racism as not only arcane, but ludicrous.¬†Would you really deny yourself a blood transfusion because Dr. Charles Richard Drew, who invented a way to process and preserve blood plasma was African-American? Would you do without such inventions as paper, printing and umbrellas because they come from Chinese inventors? Would you do without all of Albert Einstein’s contribution to science because you are anti-Semitic? The fountain pen, windmill and one of the most important inventions to my writing – coffee are all of a Muslim origin.

To do without any of these inventions because you believe this or that group of people are less than you would not only be foolish, it would be ignorant and stupid. Every culture has its heroes and its villains. To condemn an entire race or group of people based on the actions of one, or some of its people is not only irresponsible, but asinine. Do I hate all of my German friends because back in the 30’s and 40’s there was a neurotic freak named Hitler who killed millions of people? Of course not. Do I hold a grudge against all of my Christian friends because many of them lead to the death of over 100 million Native Americans? That would be senseless.

If we are to hate someone based solely on the racial/religious or political differences we have with them, then we should be prepared to do without all of the amazing contributions brought on by that group. As I look around my group of friends and notice the vast difference in color, culture and creed, I look forward to learning from and working with all of them to make our world a better place. As the Dalai Lama said, we are all brothers and sisters.