Post by Jessiealan on Mar 15, 2020 14:00:51 GMT -5
The Ides of March
unday marks the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated, a date that was, according to legend, foretold by a soothsayer.
In Shakespeare’s telling —
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry “Caesar!”—Speak. Caesar is turned to hear.
Beware the Ides of March.
As our world, nation and county reckon with the coronavirus chaos, the idea of the soothsayer — a person who divines the future by magical or intuitive means — is top of my mind.
We seem to have a lot of soothsayers out there right now. Everyone should stock up on enough food, water and toilet paper to last months, some declare. Others roll their eyes and say the situation is a scam that will amount to nothing, along the lines of Y2K.
Luckily for us, we do not have to rely on soothsayers, oracles or palm readers. We have the world’s top medical professionals to provide us with facts and guidelines.
The overarching message coming from these experts: We do not need to panic, but we need to take precautions. Coronavirus is a contagious disease that can be deadly to those at higher risk: older adults and people with serious chronic health conditions. Millions of people in the U.S. fit that description.
Numerous organizations are heeding the advice of pandemic disease specialists. Norway — a country known for its calm efficacy — has joined Italy in shutting down. Many schools are closed, major events canceled. When have the NBA and Broadway ever been on the same page?
Over the past 48 hours, since coronavirus reached Sheridan County, I have been puzzled by the spectrum of local reactions, which does not seem to relate to socioeconomic backgrounds, political persuasions or personality types. I cannot predict who will take the situation seriously or who will laugh it off.
Our nation is so divided politically that many people are unsure who to trust, so some are selectively denying what they hear from the government, or from scientists, or from the media. In the case of coronavirus, all three groups are emphatically telling us to take precautions.
The effect is dramatic: I cannot pick up my phone without seeing another coronavirus-related update. While it is stressful, I believe the “hype” is warranted. Past epidemics, such as SARS, ebola and AIDS, also caused striking levels of fear, but COVID-19 is more disruptive. The data suggests the disease is more contagious than ebola and AIDS and has higher mortality rates than SARS — and the seasonal flu, for that matter.
Instead of listening to soothsayers, let’s keep calm and listen to the experts. Wash our hands! Stay home if ill. Avoid ill people. Avoid touching doorknobs. Participate in social distancing. And maybe download a meditation app and take some deep breaths.