Reacting in Panic
It is natural to have animosity towards the global lockdown. As children, being grounded or sent to our room was punishment. As adults, being confined to our homes feels like discipline.
Initial reactions to the shutdown were apocalyptic hoarding. Ironically, we saw sharp increases in toilet paper and gun sales. (There was a 792% increase in gun revenue from February 23 to March 31.) I am not certain about the correlation. Citizens may have bought guns to protect their toilet paper. Or they reason massive amounts of toilet paper could pack a gunshot wound.
During the early days of shelter-in-place, fear of a natural disaster had us glued to the news—relatively happy to be safe at home. “In two weeks it will be over,” we expected. “Until the end of March,” we were told.
We may have had visions of thousands of people dropping dead in the streets while we remained hunkered down. Unlike a tornado or hurricane, after a few days or hours, we could not walk outside and see the aftermath.
For weeks, there is what looks like peace and quiet outdoors. The sun is shining. Birds are chirping. Air is clear because of factory closures. And we cannot go to work. In what appears to be ideal conditions, we are being told to remain inside or walk around outdoors practically in hazmat suits. After two months of this, conspiracy theorists begin doubting the pandemic as much as the lunar landing.
The recipe for such theories is simple. Add one teaspoon fact to three cups of fiction. Then stir vigorously. Some view it as an act of bioterrorism. Others feel it is commercially or politically motivated. Another group of protestors calls the whole thing a “scamdemic.”
In this fluid state, events are affecting people differently based on locale. While most of us shelter in place, medical professionals and first responders are working tirelessly. At the frontline of battle, they treat the palpable threat of the novel coronavirus.
Many states are in the latter stages of reopening. But, like opening a pressure-cooker valve, pent-up frustration has led to protests, looting, and rioting in the name of social justice. So, just when you thought it was safe to go back out, widespread curfews spring up. Again, we experience timeout.
CNN, June 18, 2020—Florida joins nine other states—Alabama, Arizona, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas — that are seeing record-high seven-day averages of new coronavirus cases per day, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Please be aware that despite any relaxation of restrictions, the pandemic is real. It can still be fatal. Level-headed social distancing and mask wearing is the course of wisdom. Wear masks to prevent the spread of virus, not to commit crimes.