Wednesday, July 01, 2020

COVID Thoughts Day

I originally made these posts on Facebook last month. Since I regularly wipe most of my Facebook history, I wanted to preserve them here as well.

June 11, 2020

COVID-19 is still here. The state reopening doesn't mean that it's magically vanished, and the fact that we're all tired of reacting to it has not given us superhero immunity.

There is no deadline attached to "flattening the curve". The longer we can delay the spread of the virus, the more we'll learn about it, and the better prepared we'll be when you or someone you care about finally needs one of those hospital beds.

Please step cautiously through the world, fully aware of the ongoing risks to you and your network. For example, new research (not yet peer-reviewed) suggests that I may be 45% more at risk for respiratory failure. Simple things like universal masks will help to keep me and other vulnerable people safe.

Everyone's threshold for acceptable risk is going to be unique, but there's a pragmatic middle ground between never seeing anyone again and shouting YOLO in a Denny's.

June 27, 2020

I often read about people yearning for a "return to normal", as if there will be a day sometime soon when the danger has passed and we can slip comfortably into our old, familiar patterns of life. This is difficult to accept, but COVID-19 isn't a temporary pause point. It's not like the time Derek pooped in the community pool and no one could swim for an hour while the lifeguard rechlorinated the water.

COVID-19 is a norm-altering event whose aftershocks will continue to ripple out for months, if not years, to come. Some effects will be negative, like the health burdens of survivors with physiological damage, an increase in tribalism between people who don't realize they have a lot in common, and masks that make communication and social interpretation more challenging. Others will be positive, like supply chain innovation and increasing acceptance of telework. Either way, things will be DIFFERENT, and a hard rewind to a simpler time is unlikely.

Free yourself. Abandon the idealized notion of what life used to be like and focus on evolving and adapting. Switch gears from waiting and surviving day-to-day to figuring out what you need to be happy in the long-term. If there are technical or social things you're missing (a new web camera, a daily routine, or a standing video chat with old friends), set them up now. It's okay to be selfish and put your own oxygen mask on first, before you channel your energy into family and friends, or larger societal problems.

We can continue to grow as people and communities even in super weird end times and come out stronger in the long run.

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