Schools, universities, libraries, places of worship and sporting institutions have shut down due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus. A global pandemic is unfolding in front of our eyes. Most of us have never experienced anything like this before.
The virus is likely to affect you and most of the people you love. In addition to overloaded hospitals, the effects beyond the health care system are starting to materialize. The feedback loops on society, economy and the environment are ringing massive alarm bells.
Fight or flight
The media is filled with reporting on the issue. New articles are seeping into our screens 24/7. Some feed us with useful information, others leave us in complete despair. What is clear: the situation is serious and the consequences are dire.
National and global efforts are focused on ‘flattening the curve’. The graph below says it all. We need to slow down the spread of the disease in order to stay within the capacity of the health care system, i.e. keep fatality rates low.
Source: COVID-19 #CoronaVirus Infographic Data Pack by Information is beautiful (16 March, 2020)
There is ample information on what we need to do in the practical sense of the matter. Washing our hands, avoiding touching our faces and maintaining social distancing are bacis at this point.
It is imperative we understand what is happening around us, so we can act responsibly. Make efforts to seek out reliable information that informs why behaviour change is necessary and crucial in times like this. So much has been published on matter, the internet is your ally. Start looking.
Facts not fiction
The fact that we are doing what we can doesn’t discount the mix of emotions we are left with. Just to name some: despair, confusion, sadness, frustration, fear, hope, gratitude and empathy. Now, what throws me off most are the blatantly clear inequalities in the systems we have created. The coronavirus is a systemic issue and dealing with it sets off chain reactions across the entire globe.
People that are least equipped to deal with this pandemic (will) suffer the most. Country leaders are confronted with an impossible mission. They are attempting to provide safety and care for all in a system where opportunities often depend on your socioeconomic reality.
The coronavirus respects no boundaries and demands immediate action. It highlights our shortcomings regarding pressing global concerns. In my opinion, it’s impossible to ignore the virus’ parallel to the climate crisis. My hope is that we will – once and for all – stop hitting the snooze button on global wake up calls. As a collective entity, as well as individual citizens.
This morning, I got triggered to join the conversation as I received a personal message that struck a sensitive chord in me. In it were very personal, genuine concerns about the well-being of loved ones and well-founded disenchantment about the world as it is. The message was a mash of despair and hope.
There and then it became clear to me. We need to shift into a constructive gear to get through this. To be given lifelines to use this time wisely, learn and act in accordance with our values. Our job is to rise above the chaos and start healing the world. Small steps. Big impact.
Hereby, I invite you for a daily moment of reckoning, a pause for positivity that can help navigate this strange time. Let’s focus on what works and share experiences to spend this time in a way that serves not only ourselves but others too.
Full disclosure: I believe, we can do more than hoard toilet paper.
During the next weeks, I will share my experiences and attempt to plant seeds for positive thoughts. The aim is to make the most of a time which can very well be a make or break moment in modern history.
Let’s get to work!