Somehow, I have felt almost guilty, well not almost…I HAVE felt guilty, and selfish, as well, for loading up on toilet paper during this pandemic. I didn’t do it all at once. I have been buying a four- or six-pack of toilet paper at Walmart, once a week, for two months now, and a two-pack of paper towels for the last six weeks (at least in part because there was a good three week period when I couldn’t find either on the shelves). I didn’t want to be one of those people wheeling a shopping cart piled high with them, so I didn’t do it all at once.. But, I have been buying. I have been stockpiling. I have been planning and preparing. I don’t feel like I’m at the point of hoarding.
I have a good reason.
Everyone has been telling me a second wave is coming. A second stronger wave of the coronavirus, a second shutdown and quarantine. My mom says it’s going to get even worse. Everyone I have spoken to where I work – the staff, students, and faculty – doubt the university will make it to October. Either there will be an outbreak on the campus that will force us to close, or the numbers will keep rising in the country, in the state, and there will be another shutdown and the university will have to close.
I believe it, too. There is too much misinformation around, too many misinformed people not practicing public health safety practices, too many people who think they can’t catch COVID-19, can’t die, won’t die, or that it is being taken too seriously. COVID-19 is too widespread, the numbers are rising, still rising. I have always believed it is going to get worse before it gets better. It was handled too poorly, too casually, at the beginning, we responded too slowly, shut down and quarantined too late.
A campus half full of students who are not ALL going to take social distancing guidelines seriously, are not going to stay six feet apart for an entire school year, are not going to wear face masks in their dorm rooms, are not always going to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, or wipe off their desks after every class.
And, the fear of poverty is beating the fear of death, at least for now, so the numbers of infected and dead are still rising, still breaking records, and too many people are just trying to ignore those facts, the reality, until it/they go away.
So, I/WE need to prepare. We DO. Buy canned goods, toilet tissue, sanitizer, disinfectant, face masks, rice, beans, other dry goods, first aid kits, laundry detergent, thermometers, candles, matches, batteries for all your stuff, flashlights etc. while you can still find it in stores and online.
It is possible that a second wave won’t happen, that it will get better. But, we need to prepare mentally, as well, if/when it doesn’t – get ready for it, get used to it, don’t get caught napping a second time, and start thinking about how to cope with the effects of it, and how to quarantine as positively as possible.