No, I'm not actually anxious about the coronavirus itself. Right now, there are very few cases in our area and it actually has a low mortality rate. That being said, I'm concerned about it reaching our elderly population, so I am concerned. But, I'm having general anxiety because I like to plan out life and living in a global pandemic is not conducive to planning. In fact, living through a pandemic is pretty much the opposite of being able to plan.
We learned this evening that the schools will close on Wednesday for at least three weeks. We're not sure when they're going to open back up; that depends on the situation with the pandemic. This means that Patrick and Minh will be home most of the time for the next three weeks. Patrick has to work on lesson plans to upload online as well as get to school for kids to pick up. Minh will be getting her assignments from Google and working on them here at home. At least if I have to have my days disrupted, they will be disrupted by some of my favorite people!
Minh and I have plane tickets to go to Atlanta on April 9. I have absolutely no idea if we're going to be able to go. I know that Atlanta has coronavirus, but it doesn't seem to be a big hot spot right now. I certainly want to be careful about possibly carrying the virus into my parents' home because they are both over 70. That being said, if Minh and I are engaged in only low-risk behavior until that time, it might make sense to go ahead and make our trip. I don't think we can know until a couple of days beforehand. Again, I can't plan!!
I'm also frustrated and distressed by the response of the federal government to this crisis. In 2018, John Bolton got rid of the Global Health Security team of the National Security Counsel. This left the US with precious little ability to respond nimbly to health threats like Ebola in 2018 and Coronavirus now. When this threat showed up in China in December, the Global Health Security Team and CDC should have been all over it.
We are just now winding up a national coronavirus testing program, weeks behind the curve. Yet, what was communicated at a press conference today appears to still be incorrect. Dr. Birx showed a flow chart that explained how citizens could use a website to determine if they needed to be tested, how to find a testing site, and how to get tested. Apparently, though, none of this is set up and isn't going to be in the near future. It seems like the best thing to do if you feel like you should be tested is to call your family doctor. Unfortunately, from what I understood at the press conference today, family doctors may not have testing ability.
I always appreciate hearing from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the NIAID. His information is straight and clear and he doesn't try to sugar coat things. He is firm in the fact that we have to continue our measures to mitigate the spread of this virus or we are going to overtax our medical system and more people will die than need to.
Despite Dr. Fauci's confidence-inspiring manner, the rest of the federal government's handling of this crisis only adds to my anxiety. I wish that I could look out on the next several months knowing that, while the future is uncertain, we are in good hands in terms of leadership. I wish that I could say that I feel like the leaders of our federal government want only our best health and well-being. Unfortunately, I can't say that. The current administration has shown that they will do anything to make the "numbers" (of cases) look better to try to protect the economy. The President today said that he will not take responsibility for the delay in response.
I have more than the usual discomfort looking out over the next several months. I want to plan everything out, which I know that I can't do. That's a personality issue that I deal with constantly. In addition, I'm constrained by other people making what I see are poor decisions. I can mitigate some of the consequences, and I will do that as they come up. Otherwise, I just face them as best I can. And deal with the anxiety like I always do.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him (Jesus) because he cares for you.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Reading and meditating on scripture is the best defense I have against free-floating anxiety. It reminds me why I don't need to be anxious. It reminds me that God is over all this situation and that nothing is happening that he isn't aware of. A global pandemic is scary to me, but nothing is scary to God. My job is not to worry, but to take care of my family. And walk with Jesus. And wash my hands.