Like everyone else, I’ve been watching the spread, reaction, and plans around the coronavirus. I have some thoughts, which managed somehow to come together as the 3 Ps. First, some background on me.

I appear to have an immune system made of cast iron. My wife gets a pulmonary illness – pneumonia, flu, bronchitis, etc. – almost every year. I’ve never caught one from her. If I remember correctly, I’ve only had the flu 4 times in the 21st century. I don’t even catch a cold more than every other year or so. Whenever my health is down, I recover extremely quickly. Even the surgeries I have had in my life have seen me return to full normal activity in about half the time the surgeons said I would need. With this in mind, it is part of my nature to be skeptical of the profound effects of many illnesses, since I have so little experience with being flat on my back for weeks at a time.

With this in mind, here’s what I think about what’s going on.

Pandering

I was hoping no one would turn this into another political fire-bomb. Sadly, it hasn’t worked out that way. If you only get your news from President Trump’s political adversaries, you would think the Trump family created the virus in their Florida compound, managed to sneak into China and spray it into the air where a million people were gathered, and have spent the last 2 months denying the virus even exists.

I’ve said it a zillion times – I’m not a Republican, I didn’t vote for him, and I have many issues with his performance so far. But some of the rhetoric is simply delusional.

For the first month of this outbreak, I don’t believe you can blame any government, not even China’s. This isn’t the flu or pneumonia – something that has been around a long time and there is a playbook to fight it. This thing is new. There are way too many people who seem to believe there would be zero US cases if the White House had responded differently. When something new comes into play, everyone has to learn it.

After the President’s address at 9 PM on March 11, I fired up Twitter, because I knew there would be hysterical people there, and I wanted to make fun of them. An awful lot of them were angry because he had referred to this as “a foreign virus.” Well, the first case was in China. Last I checked, China was not part of the USA. Therefore, calling it “foreign” is factually correct.

Was he doing his own pandering and trying to artificially prop up his response team? Probably. But with a pandemic spreading across the globe, do we really need to focus on semantics?

He certainly struggled to read the address. I always used to marvel at how, when in front of a teleprompter, President Obama was the greatest orator in the world, but outside of prepared remarks, he was much different. I used to watch his press conferences, littered with stutters and filler words, and yell at my screen, “Will someone please get this man to join Toastmasters?”

President Trump is the exact opposite. He is quite glib and engaging at his rallies, but good grief was he struggling with that teleprompter! And he certainly doesn’t need to talk junk about CFL or LED light bulbs anymore, because he is as orange as he’s ever been.

Panicking

The Bible refers to humans as sheep quite often (Matthew 9:36, Mark 6:34, 1 Peter 2:25). What is one thing we know about sheep? They have to be the most dim-witted animals on Earth. They do not think for themselves. If one wanders close to the edge of the cliff and falls off, the rest of the herd will do the same. When they fall down, they stay down until the shepherd picks them up.

We humans act like sheep quite often. When 1 person says, “it might snow tomorrow; I need to load up on bread and milk,” a zillion people will follow along and wipe the stores out. One person can make a statement that is actually a lie, and many will repeat it without doing anything to see if it’s true or not.

This behavior is on display right now. People are in such a panic, sometimes for no good reason at all.

This virus behaves a lot like the flu – similar symptoms and the same groups of people are most at risk. People like me are fine. Even if I got the virus, chances are I would be cured in a week with simple antibiotics. People like my wife – prone to respiratory infections – could be in serious danger. Most people would get sick, have to stay isolated for 2 weeks, and then move on.

There is no reason to hoard toilet paper. If there are zero cases in your county, you don’t need to go into a 1980s-style nuclear bomb shelter until 2021. Simple, basic hygiene will be sufficient. Procedures and protocols are coming into focus for what to do if you do get sick. But you will be fine with your normal bottle of hand sanitizer, not needing a 50-gallon drum of the stuff.

Protecting

In my home, we have been lamenting, “it’s such a shame that the government has to repeat multiple times every day that people need to wash their hands.” I confess to being inconsistent with hand-washing for most of my life, probably due to my resistance to most illnesses. But I’ve ramped it up in this environment, with my wife being part of an at-risk group. But as I listened to the President read off a list of common-sense, why-doesn’t-everyone-do-that-all-the-time preventative measures, one stood out:

“If you are sick, stay home and get well.”

Again, that seems like a no-brainer. But a lot of people ignore this sound statement, and I suspect not a lot is going to change during this pandemic.

Why?

That’s an entire post unto itself. Stay tuned.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the current situation in the comments.

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