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March 12, 2020

We Have a New Normal—& We Have to Get on Board.

Read here: Flattening the Curve for COVID-19: What Does It Mean and How Can You Help?

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These are unprecedented times.

As of right now, we have a new normal, and we have to respect it. The WHO issued a global pandemic alert for the Coronavirus.

Tom Hanks—a national treasure, and his equally talented and amazing wife, Rita Wilson—have tested positive for Coronavirus.

Utah Jazz all-star center Rudy Gobert has tested positive. The NBA has suspended the rest of the season. The NBA is cancelled! NCAA March Madness will have no fans. NO FANS.

Coachella—postponed.

SXSW—cancelled.

New York Auto Show—postponed.

Universities and colleges closed across the country. Kids moving out of dorms, and classes are going online. Schools and full school districts are shutting down. Companies are not allowing visitors. They are ordering employees to work from home. There is a 30-day travel ban from Europe. No one from Europe can come here, for 30 days. There is a one-mile containment area in New York, with the national guard. Let that sink in. Economically and socially, this is just insane. This is what we have seen in the movies. Not in real life. And this has all basically happened in the past 24 hours

But this is real. It is here. People are dying across the globe, and people are scared.

And that’s completely understandable. We are having our realities redefined in a matter of hours. We can’t necessarily go and do what we want when we want, or do the things that we are accustomed to. It feels a little claustrophobic and definitely scary. But now is not the time to panic. Panicking won’t help anyone. We have to be alert, and think smart. And work together.

Personally, I’m not scared of the virus itself so much. Now, I don’t want to get it, but I truly believe that if I did, I would survive. But that doesn’t mean that I can just be willy-nilly and careless about it. We have to land in-between “going on as normal” and complete panic. We have a responsibility to do our part. We have to slow or stop the spread to help those who are in need. Those who are older, immunocompromised with asthma or diabetes, or anything else.

It is our responsibility to help protect them. So, I am taking all of this seriously, and I encourage everyone to do so as well. We have to take some drastic measures now, to slow the community spread, so that here, in America, we don’t end up like Italy. Their health system is completely overwhelmed. There are more people sick than they have beds for, or ventilators or other lifesaving machines. Doctors are being forced to choose who to save and who to let die. I can’t imagine having to make a decision like that. We don’t want that here in America.

So, I am following the rules. I’m supporting schools closing, or working from home. I am cleaning. We are hunkering down for a while. I’m washing my hands—a lot more than normal!

These are all easy things to do. While cancelling school, sporting events, concerts, gatherings, cruises may seem like overkill right now, and a massive inconvenience, it could be saving someone’s life. That makes it worth it. Now more than ever, it’s time to care about each other and act accordingly.

Doing our part:

>> Don’t panic. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Step away from the news for a bit. Read a book, watch your favorite show, do some cooking or cleaning!

>> Work with your employer to determine ways to work from home.

>> Prepare for kiddos to be home. What are some fun activities we can do at home together? How can we take advantage of some extra family time?

>> Help your neighbors, friends, and family. Going to the store? See if anyone needs anything.

>> Don’t participate in social or large gatherings. I know it sounds extreme right now, but thousands of people dying is also extreme.

This will not be the end of the world. It won’t be like this forever. The Disney trip will be rescheduled. Our kids will go back to school. We will go back to work and I’ll go back to a regular handwashing schedule.

But for now, for each other, we have to quickly get on board to adapt to this new normal.

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Sara Kubica  |  Contribution: 4,525

author: Sara Kubica

Image: University of Michigan Health

Editor: Naomi Boshari