Dangerous Thinking In The Pandemic Era

I don’t understand people.

I was talking to a coworker today before I entered the building where I work, and we discussed “everything”: the forecast, our job security, God, family, faith, manners, and how many students would actually show up on move-in day instead of taking the next school year online before we finally worked our way to the Topic of the Day: COVID-19. Who is really responsible, when will social distancing and wearing masks really end, when will we really be safe, and my coworker said something I had heard before:

We have already had the coronavirus. Everybody has already had the coronavirus.

My coworker

I wanted to argue, like I had argued with another coworker maybe a month before, when she had said it. How do you know? How do we know? All I got then was an almost-bored, knowing look that said I just didn’t understand which way was up, and I needed to let myself be informed by someone who was more up on things, which infuriated me. The only know-it-all who doesn’t make me angry is me.

What angers me is what’s behind this statement, this belief that we have all been exposed, we have all had it, was heave all survived, and we don’t need to worry about it, anymore. Yes, some of the people who are saying this had a flu or cold that was stronger than usual, that felt worse than usual, and they now believe it was COVID-19, or they actually had COVID-19 in some form that didn’t have them in the hospital on a respirator. And, not they believe there is nothing to fear.

They had it and they survived it, and it will never be any worst than that again. They had it and they had no symptoms, so they won’t have any, if it happens again. Or, the worst one, they had it, and they built up some antibodies again, and they can’t get it again.

I understand, the coronavirus came out of nowhere and shut us all down, and it startled and scared us, and we are all trying to get to place where we feel safe. Is it safe enough to go back into the streets? Will I be safe if I taker my classes online or work from home? what do I have to do to feel safe? So, I get it. Telling yourself you already had the coronavirus lets you feel like you’re on the other side of it, the survivor’s side. It did its worst. You’re still standing. A survivor. On the downhill side of the disease and the pandemic.

There is nothing left to fear but fear itself.

That is a dangerous way to think. First, you can get COVID-19 twice. The first time does not make you immune to it for life. Second, believing you have licked the beast gives you a false sense of security, a sense that it can’t touch you, and that you, therefore, don’t need to take precautions. You don’t need a face mask. You don’t need to wear gloves. And, since we all have had the virus, already, no one needs any protection of any kind. No one needs to wear mask, no one needs to wear gloves. We are all running around here, afraid we’re going to get the virus – and we’ve already had it.

And, that is the third problem. You believe the rest of the world is foolishness, wasting its time and energy on all these precautions and supplies and whatever else. The world doesn’t need social distancing. It doesn’t need masks and disinfectant. The rest of the world is being silly. People are being silly. This whole pandemic nonsense is silly and we could have been back “like we used to” a long time ago; things could have been back they way they were. They’re erring on the side of the shut down protesters and they don’t even see it.

If you had the virus and you can’t get it anymore and everyone int he world has already had it, why are people still getting infected. Why are there new infected? If you have exhibited no symptoms and you haven’t been tested, how do you know you’ve had the virus?

I don’t know what’s really behind this. The fear of death. Destressing. Naivete. A mistrust of official sources and medical expertise. But, there is something there, something that resolutely refuses to believe it has anything to fear from this virus. Something that just believes that “I can’t get this virus, I can’t get infected with it, it’s just not gonna happen”.

COVID-19 is messing with people’s minds. It’s messing with their real lives and their sense of reality. They simply cannot believe they could get this virus and possibly die from it. They can’t imagine it. At all.

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