Be Prepared


I haven’t done a weekend edition of my blog for quite some time, but I have become sufficiently concerned about all of the conflicting coverage of the Coronavirus to want to present a few of my ideas. I must begin by acknowledging that I am no expert in virology or any other form of medicine. I’m just an ordinary soul who does her best to stay healthy by maintaining certain routines in life. What worries me the most about the outbreak of this novel virus is that even the most accomplished doctors and scientists are still trying to sufficiently understand how it works and what it may do to people who encounter it. As with any uncertainty it would be foolhardy to act as though all is well and we should have no worries, but going to battle with disease is sometimes like going to war with a tyrant. We have to be ready for anything, even the unexpected.

During World War II Great Britain was on the brink of being overtaken by Nazi forces just as France and so many other countries on the European continent had been. Winston Churchill, who was indeed a very imperfect man, wisely counseled the people to “keep calm and carry on,” noting that they had “nothing to fear but fear itself.”

That did not mean that he gave the people a false sense of security. He was always quite honest about the threat that loomed over the country and he urged the populace to be prepared for any eventualities. In other words he had a realistic approach to leadership without creating panic, something that our President and our officials in Congress would do well to emulate with regard to the potential of a pandemic that may or may not threaten the citizens of the United States and the world. Politics should take a back seat to the needs of the people, which means that even if the republicans and democrats despise one another our elected leaders should be working together and supporting plans to react as needed if and when the occasion arises.

We keep hearing all sorts of conflicting information about the Coronavirus but the worst of the advice that is circulating is to be flippant about the disease. Now is the time to prepare just in case the worst fears actually materialize. Without panic, households across the country might consider stocking up on a couple of weeks of food and other necessary supplies. If nothing ever comes to pass, nothing will have been lost. Those items may be used in the normal fashion later on and everybody wins.

My pantry was looking a bit bare and I realized that if an isolation order ever became a reality I would be caught short and have to deal with empty shelves and a state of panic. Instead I added a few things to my shopping cart this week and stored them away for whatever will be. It’s not that I am worried that I will catch the virus and die, it’s simply that I don’t want to be caught in an untenable situation. I bit of caution never hurts.

This week there has been a break in a huge water main in Houston that has affected schools and offices across the city. Everyone is being asked to boil their water. All of this was totally unexpected and most people will be able to cope for a few days, but if for some reason the situation lasted a bit longer I suspect that a state of fear might overtake our city. We can’t always be ready for a situation that suddenly changes things, but when we know that there may be a possibility of something happening, regardless of how remote, it makes sense to be prepared.

I would be far more relaxed about the situation if our various leaders were working together in the spirit of focusing on the needs of the people, but that appears to be a pipe dream. They will no doubt use this occasion to tear down one another for political gain. While they fight over who is best, we can take the lead in our own communities by preparing for any possible scenario and then going about our daily routines with the hope that we will never need the provisions we have made. It’s a shame that our leaders are not showing the way by example but they have gone into their own little world of mortal combat with one another that will one day have to end if our nation is the adequately survive.

There are brilliant minds doing their best to get a handle on how the Coronavirus will ultimately affect humanity. I have every confidence that among them someone will find the answers that we need. For the time being I will be neither too complacent nor too terrified. Instead I will be ready to react as needed. I’ve bought lots of soap to wash my hands and anti-virus cleaning sprays to clean my countertops. I’m also praying for those who have already been affected. They are the unfortunate souls whose experiences with the illness will help to find ways of combating it with the rest of us. My God and the brave caretakers of medicine be with them.

Stay calm, wash your hands, be prepared and don’t give in to fear. Pray that the brilliant among us will figure things out and that our leaders will ultimately understand that this should not be a political football. “Donald and Nancy, we’d like for you to set aside your differences and work for the good of all of us.” That is what will make us feel a whole lot better. Until that happens we will just be prepared.