Cognitive Dissidence

While everyone is buying up toilet paper because everyone else is, and they don’t want to be without, it’s becoming apparent to me that denial is strong in all of this behavior.

Look. I’m not faulting those of you cracking light. I’m not chastising those of you hoarding. We are in uncharted territory for this day and age.

So, if your only way of dealing with the approaching pandemic is to make jokes, I understand. If you are caught up in the fear that you won’t have enough toilet paper or food, I understand.

See, it hasn’t sunk in yet.

It’s not going to be about not having toilet paper. It’s not going to be about shortages. It is not going to be about the inconvenience of being stuck in the house for weeks because you or someone you live with have the virus.

And really, all I hear are people focused on the inconvenience of isolation. The inconvenience of preventing the spread of the virus. The United States has been so long removed from epidemics and pandemics they’ve forgotten their number one outcome – death.

People are going to die.

Let me repeat that.

People are going to die.

A large number of people are going to die.

Some of them will be people you know.

People you are acquainted with, work with or see regularly at the checkout line. They might even be someone you are close to, care about, and love.

Humans as a general rule fear the unknown because – well, the unknown might kill us. We’ve developed coping mechanisms to ease the anxiety and fear of the unknown. We develop avoidance strategies because anxiety and fear are uncomfortable.

But now? Oh, now we are facing something entirely more uncomfortable. We are not facing the unknown. We are facing the known. We are facing death.

Illness has been the bane of humans since we first walked upright. We have an instinctive knowledge that illness can mean death.

The rest of the world is six weeks ahead of us in instituting measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Six weeks ahead in testing, tracking, and allocating resources effectively and efficiently. Yet, look at those numbers in China, Italy, and Germany. And since the virus originated in the wet markets of China in 2019, we need to be very concerned. In 2018 2.9 million Chinese traveled to the United States. The numbers for 2019 are not yet in, but I suspect it is not much lower than for 2018.

And we are 6 weeks behind in testing. Six weeks behind in testing, tracking, and allocating resources effectively and efficiently. We don’t have the facts. We don’t know how many people are truly infected. So we may be facing the known instead of the unknown, we are unaware as to the full aspect of what we are facing.

Talk about living in interesting times.

Ironic, isn’t it.

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