Others are more nervous than ever. They're realizing that over 130,000 Americans have died of the disease -- more Americans than died in the entire Vietnam war. They feel like they're playing Russian Roulette. They squeezed the trigger in April, and again in May, and it came up a blank. But how many more times can they squeeze the trigger before there's a bullet in the chamber?
I know a few who have had the disease and survived. A 68-year-old fellow golfer was in bed for five days, then recovered. He's okay now. A couple in their 60s both had to go into the hospital. She was put on oxygen, he had to go on a ventilator. They both suffered terrible pain and fear. They, too, survived, but may suffer permanent effects.
And the experts say we haven't yet reached the peak of even the first phase of the disease -- not to mention a second wave that may come in the fall or sometime next year.
|The new normal|
Some people are behaving selfishly. They are hoarding everything from groceries to toilet paper to hand sanitizer. Others display blatant disregard for both themselves and others. What, me worry? they say. And so they go out to parties or the beach or the amusement park and just have fun. They don't wear a mask because . . . well, it makes it hard to breathe.
One couple in our community owns an RV. They are currently traveling out West and posting pictures on their Facebook page. Are they offering us some vicarious pleasures of their travels? Or are they just rubbing it in?
Some people are going out of their way to be helpful. My town offers a program where people can call locked-down residents of senior living facilities to provide a friendly voice and give people news from the outside world. Some are going shopping for elderly or disabled people, or holding Zoom meetings for kids to help keep them entertained.
Most of us are just being sensible. We go out when we have to, but stay home most of the time. I'm guessing our lawns and gardens look better this year, because we're spending time in the yard. Maybe we've used the time to clear out some clutter in the garage or basement; or we've organized our photo collection or knitted a sweater or scarf.
Some people are thinking that our lifestyles have contributed to the problem. Are pollution, overpopulation, climate change and global warming contributing to increased pathogens and disease? Nobody really knows. We do know that less human activity associated with Coronavirus has cleared up the skies in some major metropolitan areas, at least temporarily.
We also know that co-morbidity factors such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure can make us more vulnerable to the virus. Some people have taken this as a wake-up call to improve their lifestyles -- eat better, get more exercise, lose weight. I certainly see more people than normal walking and jogging up and down my street these days.
Some people are trying to get creative, find new ways to do things. How many of us have learned how to Facetime or Zoom in the last few months? We have several teachers who live on our block, and they held spring classes on Google Classroom, exploring new ways to reach out to their young students using photos, games, videos.
School administrators are trying to figure out how to hold classes in the fall. There are all manner of compromises and creative solutions being proposed. At my own Center for Learning in Retirement, we are holding all fall classes online. The good news: almost all the instructors have agreed to teach their classes online, and so far enrollment looks like it's going to be at least as good as last year, if not better.
So where do we go next? I'm still hoping that researchers will come up with a cure or a vaccine -- and in a year or 18 months this will be but a bitter memory. My wife B thinks Covid-19 will be with us for a long time. In her opinion, we will have to learn how to adapt. Be cautious. Be safe. Wash hands. Use hand sanitizer. Wear a mask. But there are still going to be people who get sick and die. We'll have to live with the toll of Covid as a price of modern life, just as we live with the toll of crime or car accidents.
That's why I'm at home right now, pecking away at my computer. And she is out this morning, taking a walk down to the farmer's market. It has reopened -- restricted to 50% capacity, with mandated face masks -- even though the number of new cases is rising again in our state.