The Corona Virus and Me
I have not been able to write for about three weeks now.
We seem to be engulfed by the corona virus here in Switzerland. It is all around us, the news are full of it and not only that, the increasing world crisis due to the outbreak and the limitations put on society and normal life for everyone in Europe is evident everywhere. In the shops, where people keep at a distance, I see empty shelves, bare of the usual products and people who pile their carts up with extra food. I understand – who knows what will come next. The shops, apart from supermarkets and drugstores are closed as of today – the schools are closed, too. Bars, restaurants and clubs cannot open and hotels are no longer full of vacationers and business travellers. I fear for the small businesses and shops and for companies soon not able to get the parts they need to continue production, airlines are no longer flying.
Personnel is getting sick or having symptoms and need to stay at home. My son is having a regular cold – but is it??
No-one knows for sure. He was sent home from work because his colleagues started to feel uncomfortable around him coughing. The small drugstore he works in actually needs all of their staff at a time when there are long lines in front of the store and customers are trying to stock up on medicine. But when he called the medical hotline to ask about a test to be sure he did not have the virus, he was told: “No, the test cannot be done, just stay home until the symptoms subside or it gets worse.”
Obviously, medical staff is not yet prepared and does not have the capacity to test all. Not even for much needed people who deal with customers directly and cannot be sent to work from home.
I just hope the medical staff does not get sick! This would mean a rapid shortage of doctors and nurses in practices and hospitals. We are, after all, right in the middle of the regular flu season. Many people have a runny nose or a cough. I know, here, the situation is nowhere near as bad as in Italy but scary enough.
While the government issues new statements and updates almost by the hour, it is hard not to panic.
The press and scientists are warning against panic, but few are by now still playing down the situation. The Swiss government seems seriously concerned and appeals to all people to adhere to the safety and precautionary measures.
The weather is mild and sunny, perfect days to be outside in nature. I enjoy being outside and so do lots of other people who are not working or are doing home office. However, if people do not heed the government´s advice and take the measures seriously, we might get into the situation as in Italy and now also in France, where people are only allowed to leave their house for food shopping or work, if not in home office. This is unimaginable!
Only last week I was still laughed at for taking precautions, when I stopped going to my regular yoga classes, cancelled my hairdresser´s appointment and would no longer shake hands with people.
I have been keeping to myself mostly, apart from seeing very few close friends who I know I can trust to have the same diligence as me.
I obviously belong to the risk group due to my medical history. Last week, most people did not care. They did not want to be deprived of their regular routines.
By this week, I suppose, almost everybody is taking the situation more seriously and must get used to the changed living conditions.
My oldest son and family are having to deal with quite a lot of logistical challenges. Both are working in demanding jobs and the day-care for their 2-year old has shut down. What now?
The grand parents live far away, like me, and cannot be called upon for babysitting at all. My son told me, they need to take it one day at a time. Home-office for them is possible, just not every day. But what to do with the active 2-year old at home – while mother or father need to get their work done?
There are no easy solutions, no alternatives and not precedencies.
This is a totally unknown territory. Nobody can draw on previous experience, not the governments, not the companies, nor the hospital staff nor the general population.
Still, we are told not to panic, which I understand to mean “do not worry, it will all sort itself out” – somehow. We are asked to look out for each other.
People seem to feel more connected, even while keeping the distance, and more willing to help each other – this seems to be the only positive development I can think of at the moment.
Nobody knows either, how soon this situation will end, what the final damage to the world economy will be and what will be left of the way we used to live. The virus is unpredictable, might take a lot of lives or might taper off quietly without causing too many people to die from it. Scientists are working on vaccines but that will take some time.
The damage to our economy has been done already. I fear it will not be possible for us to quickly go back to our normal lives when eventually the virus is conquered or eases off by itself. We are all affected. Many fear for their jobs now.
For the first time that I can remember, at least in our Western societies, a huge upheaval is happening right before our eyes. We are helpless and unprepared. Nobody could predict this.
I feel a duty to take care of myself, be careful and not risk myself and others being infected. I want to avoid possibly needing a hospital bed and taking up medical staff´s time when I can avoid it. I knew early on what to do and which places to avoid. After my Near Death Experience, I know.
I also seem to see the situation as more serious than most. Not so much because of my own increased risk but because of the breakdown of our societies and economic stability. I cannot predict anything but feel the best I can do is to be watchful and listen to my inner guidance.
Perhaps, this is what we all need, listen to our inner guidance more and just maybe this forced isolation and shut down of our usual entertainment and recreational activities will enable us in this unsettling time to become more sensitive to our inner wisdom and feelings, and that would be another positive development, wouldn´t it?