My boyfriend has been an registered nurse for three years now, and he comes home with a lot of stories I never needed to know. (All within his legal ability to tell me. He's not sharing any info he's not supposed to. Let's get that clear.) So of course, I'm a little on edge waiting for the day he texts me to tell me they've had a coronavirus case at the hospital.
Now, I'm not within the high-risk group of people who need to fear for their lives, but I am at a slightly higher risk than the general population due to a little thing called asthma. I've had asthma (mainly with exercise-based exertion) and issues with poor lungs since I was about five, but it's generally a mild daily-life issue. But even the thought of getting COVID-19 has me a little nervous about my breathing, and then it's compounded by my concern over my boyfriend and his work.
These are very real issues and very real concerns that should be validated, but I also know I'm much healthier and safer than a lot of people out there. Which is why it's so difficult to sit back and watch people on either end of the spectrum going about this issue: overreacting or under-reacting.
Some people are treating this global epidemic as if we're concerned over nothing. And others are acting as though it's the end of the world.
We should absolutely be concerned about how many people this virus could kill if it continues to spread. We should be concerned over how long we'll need to quarantine and social distance if not everyone is on board because of the financial implications. But buying every store out of toilet paper, baby wipes, and hand soap, is definitely not going to change your situation. We may need to social distance for a while, but if you're not already sick, you can still make an infrequent trip to the store to grab a couple more things. The virus was already out there when you bought all that toilet paper, and it'll still be out there if you have to go back. But there are people who need baby wipes for their children. There are people who have medically based bowl issues who may need the extra toilet paper. So if you are an able-bodied person with less to be worried about, be a little more thoughtful in your safety purchases.
If only we could live in a society where people just...react. Not over, not under. Just react. React properly by social distancing and washing your hands. React properly by not being concerned for yourself if you have no underlying health issues but by being concerned for those who do and taking precautions for them. React by being kind, not dismissive. React by understanding that while this too shall pass, anything you can do to help friends, family, businesses, and anyone else, whether by supporting your favorite restaurant through takeouts or just distancing yourself from people at risk, is making a difference even if you can't see it.
I may have to leave my home if my boyfriend gets sick at work and has to quarantine himself. I'm lucky enough to work for a company that has us working from home for the foreseeable future, but the nurses and doctors on the front lines don't have that option. This whole thing could pass, and you may never get sick so you won't see the actual implications of this. But medical professionals DO, because there are real implications to this virus. So give a nurse you know a little bit of extra love (from a distance). They're trying to help save people's lives because the people who come through the hospital doors with COVID-19 are the people we SHOULD be worried about. The people who end up in the hospital aren't healthy people; they're the people who have no other choice.