9 Reasons We May Finally be Reaching Coronavirus Fatigue

An orderly sense of calm has come over the grocery stores, replacing the frenzied panic of a few weeks ago. The local TV news is leading off with stories other than the coronavirus. That’s after two solid months of the first 80% of each program being dedicated to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Wall Street is carrying on as if the pandemic is just a bump in the road on the way to higher valuations. Is it possible we may finally be reaching coronavirus fatigue?

9 Reasons We May Finally be Reaching Coronavirus Fatigue
9 Reasons We May Finally be Reaching Coronavirus Fatigue

There’s no question, the media and the Internet are still awash in stories of pandemic gloom and doom. But there’s increasing push back to those stories, and maybe even a growing sense of doubt and disbelief.

The changes may be subtle, but it’s starting to become increasingly obvious we may finally be reaching coronavirus fatigue.

There are nine possible explanations:

1. We’ve Reached our Limit on Panic and Fear

It’s been said humans have a limited ability to grieve. That makes it reasonable we also have limits on other emotions, including panic and fear.

It’s not that the grief, panic or fear – or any other negative emotion – completely disappear. But rather that they become less acute over time. Let’s face it, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t the only problem most of us face. It may be the crisis du jour, but it hardly stands alone.

As well, every source of panic and fear is always most severe at the outset. That’s when the crisis looks most threatening, and few answers or solutions are available. That’s still the case with the coronavirus, but we may be running out of bandwidth for panic and fear, and gravitating toward any form of relief – real or imagined.

2. We’re in Denial

Denial is a widespread intellectual and emotional state among human beings, particularly in the face of disaster. There’s even a semi-clinical name for the mindset – normalcy bias. Basically, we filter out and even ignore news, information and developments that don’t fit neatly within our personal concepts of normal. And right now, who doesn’t want things to go back to normal?

Regardless how we interpret the current flow of events, the coronavirus pandemic remains a dangerous and unpredictable foe. The number of people infected with the virus has reached the
one million mark in the US and is still growing by tens of thousands each day.

Is it possible we’ve reached the point where we simply don’t want to accept this anymore?

It definitely is.

3. We Can’t Handle Contemplating How Bad the Pandemic Might Get

Not to be overly negative, but the reality is there is no cure for the coronavirus nor even a promise of one over the horizon. We’re left with nothing more than raw speculation as to how things play out once the economy is reopened, whether we develop some sort of immunity or the virus subsides during the warm weather season, or whether or not the pandemic will return with a vengeance in the fall.

The numbers thus far have been bad enough, but they don’t approach the initial estimates of 200,000 deaths in the US. Whether any of the variables break in the wrong direction may be beyond our capacity to absorb.

4. We Just Want Normal

After nearly two months of bunkering down at home and having our regular lives disrupted, we’re groaning for anything that looks and feels like normal. That’s perfectly natural, especially during times such as these.

Normal as we knew it in pre-pandemic times may never return. But if coronavirus fatigue is beginning to set in, that might not matter. We just want this to be over so we can get on with whatever comes next. In a society of 200 TV channels, drive-up windows, and unlimited Internet surfing, we expect nothing less.

Put another way, it’s time to change the channel. That’s the normal we’re used to.

5. We’re Certain the Pandemic Will Go Away if We Just Get Back to Normal

Protests against the lockdown are increasing in frequency and intensity. While not everyone is prepared to join in those protests, many are at least sympathetic to the cause.

There’s an entrenched belief among some that this whole nasty episode will disappear if we just go back to normal. While it’s part of the denial process, it’s also a belief system. Some see conspiracy theories behind the lockdown, but many also see the potential damage the lockdown is doing.

That opens another important consideration…

6. We’re No Longer Certain What’s Being Done is Actually Working

The idea that the lockdown, social distancing, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize the spread of the virus may not be as certain as we want to believe. After all, the number of those infected, as well as deaths, have been rising since all these measures were put in place.

We’ll never know how much behavioral modification has reduced the spread of the virus, but we can say conclusively that it has not eliminated it. The numbers have grown steadily despite all the measures taken.

Like virtually everything else about the coronavirus, nothing seems certain. For example behavioral modification seems to have worked in China and South Korea. But similar measures have been implemented in the US, Canada, and Western Europe, but the numbers continue to grow. It’s likely there are factors involved in the spread of the virus that are not well understood, but give behavior modification only limited utility.

There may be a growing sense that if behavior modification can’t contain the pandemic, a Plan B is needed. Given everything else, the hope is that such a plan will involve a major shift back to “normal”.

7. We Now Fear an Economic Collapse More than the Pandemic

We’ve all heard the saying the cure is worse than the disease. As that might relate to the coronavirus pandemic, the jury is still out.

Thus far, the cure has been personal isolation and a shattered economy. Many experts are predicting another Great Depression. That shouldn’t be dismissed out-of-hand either. Many of the companies, businesses and jobs lost during the shutdown aren’t coming back. The longer the shutdown goes, the deeper the economic damage will be.

It may be that we’re facing a choice between two mutually exclusive – but equally destructive – options for dealing with the pandemic. We can either open the economy and risk devastating health consequences, or keep the economy closed, hold the virus in check, but face devastating economic consequences.

If history is any guide, economic devastation almost always results in health-related devastation. We may have to choose the lesser of the two evils and prepare for the consequences. Put another way, we’re in a classic no-win situation.

Some people may have already seriously contemplated this possibility and have made a decision that reopening the economy is the lesser of the two evils. That will require mentally downgrading the future fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in another coronavirus fatigue contributor.

8. We’re Just Plain Over It – The Essence of Coronavirus Fatigue

Let’s be honest, we’ve had a really good run here in the US since 1945. There have been plenty of scares, including threats of previous pandemics. But somehow we managed to overcome them, or they turned out to be less severe than predicted. That’s pretty much been the story for the past 75 years, which is just about full human lifetime. That length of time creates certain thought patterns that aren’t easily overcome.

We may not be mentally and emotionally prepared for a true crisis, one that can’t be solved by a miracle technological breakthrough, sending in the military, or trillions of dollars of Federal Reserve money printing.

Pinned in the corner with no viable options, we may simply be ready to throw caution to the wind. That will start with a declining interest in anything related to the virus, and a growing desire to do whatever it takes to get back to business as usual.

In a society accustomed to unlimited access to restaurant meals, movie theaters, beaches, theme parks and travel, it may just be easier to get over a crisis, at least in our own minds.

9. We’ve Resigned Ourselves to Learning to Live with the Coronavirus

Though it’s only been a couple of months since we’ve come to realize the true seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, many may have quickly accepted the reality that life will never go back to normal. Instead, there’s a resignation that we need to learn to live with the virus, and however that world will look.

That will naturally involve the risk of stepping out of the bunker, more fully (but not completely) participating in the economy, and getting as close to normal social behavior as possible.

That may sound suicidal, but it’s not as irrational as it seems on the surface. After all, we’ve long since accepted the reality that hundreds of thousands of people die each year from common illnesses, like heart disease and cancer. Though we modify our behavior as a result, we hardly retreat to a cocoon as a solution.

Until and unless a cure is developed, this may be the only logical response. Millions may have already come to that conclusion, and have begun to tune out the coronavirus news.

After a while, the news – in this case the coronavirus – ceases to be new. As it does, learning to coexist with a disturbing reality starts to become the new normal. Some may have reached that point faster than the rest of us and are already losing interest.

Do you think we’re reaching the point of “coronavirus fatigue”? If so, why do you think it’s happening? And what do you think will be the outcome of the pandemic, relating to health consequences, social behavior, and economic factors?

( Photo by focusonmore.com )

20 Responses to 9 Reasons We May Finally be Reaching Coronavirus Fatigue

  1. That is a great list of mindsets which are common to so many of us! Thankfully,we have an almighty God who is in total charge of events and can be trusted.Take care,Kevin.And many blessings be upon you and yours!

  2. Hi Curtis – I’m with you, it’s my faith in God that helps me keep centered in all this. But I find myself watching a lot more preachers on YouTube than ever before, talking about how many times God tells us to “fear not”. And I have to say my wife and I have a strong sense we’re being protected. Then we think back on all the previous crises we’ve faced, most of them on a personal level, and we’re reminded we came through all of those. But it’s strange how each new crisis tests your faith, almost as if the experiences of the last dozen didn’t happen. We need to work on that and trust more!

  3. I don’t think many things will go back to the way it was before. I’m not one who ever took this as a pandemic. More people die from the flu each year that this.
    However, I see a lot of different type restrictions that are going to really burden people’s life’s.
    I’m hearing all kinds of things, like we all will be required to have a special medical card or paper, that has to be shown on demand.
    I’ve read about portable testers being developed and are going to be required at each store and place of business. People will have to blow into or submit to a test before entering.
    Don’t know how that would work if you visited multiple businesses in a day or trip out shopping.
    I have heard about eating places being forced to take out seats. Have a law requiring less people allowed into bars or places of gatherings.

    Nothing is really going to go back. It never does. With each passing crisis new rules and restrictions will be forced upon everybody.
    If all these rules are put into place you will see businesses like this be crippled or the prices will double to make up for lost money.

    I don’t see the economy rebounding at all. It was in crisis before this. If it does get going for a bit, keep in mind it is only the eye of the storm. Use the time to build savings and get rid of debt.
    This will happen again, now the precident has been set.

  4. Hi Tim – I COMPLETELY agree with you that things are not going to go back to normal, at least not as normal was defined before the pandemic hit. This thing has been a game changer, that will substantially alter the social, economic, and political landscapes for a generation or more.

    But I do think it’s something much more significant than the flu. Not only is it highly contagious, but it seems to be causing more and deeper symptoms than the flu. It also seems to be asymmetric, which is a big part of the problem. For example, middle-aged people are getting strokes, and unlike the flu, younger people are dying from the coronavirus. And perhaps most important, while the death rate for the flu is substantially less than 1%, it’s now approaching 6% with the coronavirus. In fact, in several countries in Europe, the death rate exceeds 10%. It’s as high as 15+% in Belgium alone. That’s not the flu, but something substantially worse.

    If this whole thing were to stop now, I would agree with you it isn’t really a pandemic. But it isn’t over, and my suspicion is the numbers will roughly double even if the current episode passes. But if it comes back in the fall or winter, then yes, it will indisputably be a pandemic.

    I also agree that we’re going to see a lot of changes going forward that are going to largely end freedom as we have known it. But that’s been happening gradually since World War II, and it accelerated after 9/11. With the coronavirus, it’ll only get worse.

    But with the economic and social disruption that’s coming, I’m not sure all the Gestapo tactics are going to stick. Yes, they’ll be implemented, but it remains to be seen if the public will accept them quietly. Already we’re getting rallies across the country demanding the economy be reopened.

    I think that’s just the start. It indicates the citizenry is finally mobilizing around a central idea, and that hasn’t happened in at least 40 years. That’s another game changer. The creeping police state has been able to continue because the public has been pacified. That may be one of the things the coronavirus puts an end to. Serious survival issues have a way of getting people to focus on what’s really important. The Fed passing out free money isn’t going to fix that, because loans and stimulus checks aren’t the same as ongoing income.

    What hasn’t been fully appreciated, I think, is that this is unlikely to be a one-off event. The repercussions are going to play out for years to come, and will likely take turns no one can anticipate right now.

    As I said in my response to Curtis, I have faith that God is working his plan in the coronavirus pandemic, and its aftermath. One way or another things are going to be different. And while a lot of the darker projections may well play out the short run, I think some good things are going come out of this. One I anticipate is that we’re going to have a general price collapse. Housing, healthcare, and a whole bunch of other structural expenses are going to plummet. Once they do, living standards will gradually improve.

    I also see the corporate employment complex unwinding, with more people earning income from independent sources. Some sort of general return to the family farm and shop is long overdue, and is likely to ultimately improve the quality of life.

    That by the way will be the topic of my next article.

  5. Kevin, I, too, have faith in God. God ain’t through with me and has plans for me and the devil would find me way too much of a trouble maker to want me.
    In response to your idea of return to more family farms and shops and even self-reliance in things like gardening: The few businesses that are making out like bandits in this pandemic are large scale corporate behemoths such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, various grocery chains, fast food drive-thrus, etc. The smaller, local businesses are either shuttered or lack customers because they do not have a large take way or online presence. Some states have shuttered garden centers and garden departments of chain stores. I know people who are so scared to leave their home that they huddle in fear and won’t deal with anyone in person or go out and get groceries or even dig a garden in their own backyard! However, they will order for Amazon or such as long as they don’t have to deal with a delivery person.
    Gig workers are suffering. Uber and Air BnB are basically dead right now. The food delivery apps charge such steep commissions to already burdened restaurants and grocers that many are considering dropping those services. And you can’t get those services out here in the boonies even if you wanted to use them.
    I think people are lowering their own immune systems by avoiding fresh air, sunshine, outdoor activities and any social activity. And with the immune destroying adrenaline that stress and excessive fear create.
    We need to deal with the differences between rural and small town environments and mega-cities such as New York.
    For example, the three counties surrounding my small town have less total CV-19 positive cases than one nursing home in a suburb of Richmond (200+ positive cases and 60+ deaths in that one facility). All the deaths in these counties (3 total) were from people who had recently traveled to NY or Northern VA and they were all people over 80 with pre-existing conditions.
    Although I don’t have any desire to see people get sick and suffer, I also have no desire to live through another Great Depression.
    There has never before been an epidemic or pandemic in which we quarantined the healthy as well as the ill. Quarantine the symptomatic and the ill and the more vulnerable (old people vary greatly in health and hardiness. Some are spry, healthy and energetic, some are feeble and debilitated. Some younger people are more unhealthy than the spry old folks.)

  6. Hi Mary – I agree with so much of what you wrote. I’m of the opinion that social isolation may not be as effective as we and even the officialdom want to believe. After all, the numbers are rising even with social distancing. I feel like we’re at the mercy of this virus and may have to take chances at some point, but I’m glad I’m not one of the people who have to make that call. We’re really between the Devil and the deep blue sea at this point because there are serious risks no matter which way we turn. If we continue in shutdown mode, we will have a depression (if it isn’t already inevitable), and that will leave us very vulnerable to other calamities. But if we try to ignore the virus this thing could get a lot worse than it is.

    Either way, as I wrote in the article, I sense people are reaching a point of coronavirus overload, and are ready to move on, whatever the driving force for each individual might be.

    This is of course pure speculation on my part, but I think in a few years when the postscript is in on this virus, we’re going to find out a lot of facts and truths that are going to shock us. Or confirm what some already believe. For example, we may learn that we were either in more or less danger than we were lead to believe. I have no idea which way that will swing, but I fully expect it to be the case. The lack of solid information and the constant changes in whatever is assumed to be known at any given moment is dazzling, in a very negative way.

    Maybe we should be asking ourselves if the human race is finally facing a crisis that’s bringing us to the end of our capabilities. I suspect we’ll know the answer to that soon.

  7. I made a joke on Facebook a few weeks back. I said I was elated to finally hear news of a shooting because both the local news and national news have become the Covid-19 News Hour – all Covid and only Covid, all the time. I only watch the news now to catch the weather forecast. The news credo these days is if it bleeds, it leads (or rather if it coughs, it leads.)
    I also drew a cartoon of Jesus feeding the multitudes calling it the miracle of the rolls and the tissues because I was beginning to believe it would take such a miracle to find even a small amount of toilet paper!

  8. My wife and I are in a couples group that meets on Zoom on Wednesday nights. In doing the study for the group, the facilitator in the video said “we need to walk in faith, not in fear”. I’ve been trying to make that my mantra for years. Meanwhile I only passively follow the news (which sells fear). I look at the infection and death totals each day, because those are the only “facts” that matter. The news and political interpretations are just noise. But right now I’m as worried about the economic fallout on this as much as the health consequences. It may be argued this hasn’t risen to the level of a pandemic (yet) but it’s definitely a first class conundrum.

  9. Nice article but I think your numbers are off. There are many “small” studies coming out that show the virus is much more widespread than the testing number show and that the true death rate is well under 1%. Plus the way they count the death rate is very questionable since they count almost every death a corona death regardless of how the person died as long as they had the virus they died from the virus.

    I live in WA state and I can tell you that people are not really in lock down. Yes you can’t go hiking fishing, camping or to buy cloths, but Walmart, Lowes, Homedepot, Costco and garden centers are at max capacity with long lines and people passing with in inches of each other so to think that locking us down saved us from anything is wrong.

    Also our state governor changed his narrative from “flattening the curve” to “save lives”..I feel this is like the global warming fight, that after years of saying that the earth was getting hotter but it never did they changed to “climate change” so that they can keep their agenda in place.
    Have have great day and God bless us all.

  10. Hi Rick – You could be right about the death rate being overstated. A lot of people are claiming as much. But the counter case can also be made. The death rate is simplistically being calculated as the number of deaths divided by the total number of cases in each country. Based on that calculation, the global death rate is something higher than 7%, and the US death rate is just below 6%. However, in Spain, Italy, France, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden the death rate is in double digits. In Belgium, it’s nearly 16%. These are all countries that are farther down the path than we are. Our death rate has grown from about 1.2% in mid-March to nearly 6% now.

    But again, that’s based on the simple calculation. A closer look shows much more dismal outcome. Of the approximately 1.1 million cases in the US, 880,000 are still active. But among the nearly 220,000 cases that have been closed, there are nearly 64,000 deaths and fewer than 160,000 recoveries. If you divide 64,000 by the nearly 220,000 total resolved cases, the death rate climbs to something approaching 30%.

    If that figure holds across the 880,000 open cases, we can see hundreds of thousands of deaths.

    Believe me, I’m with you in hoping you’re right that the death rate is much lower. But one of the problems we’ve had with coronavirus from the very beginning is statistical confusion. And one thing I will say categorically that this is not just another iteration of the flu.

    Sorry for all the number crunching, but as a former accountant I’m well aware that it’s not the numbers that matter but the relationships between number sets. A similar analogy would be a company with $1 billion in gross revenues, but a net loss of $50 million. Revenues may be impressive, but the loss could be an indication that the health and survivability of the company is in question.

    Ultimately, my take is that we still don’t know enough about this virus to even form an intelligent policy. There’s going to be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking when it’s all over. And again, I hope you’re right about the death rate being 1%. But that’s one of those numbers that hasn’t been proven by any critical analysis. Right now it falls into the category of an alleged fact that gets repeated so often that people believe it without question.

  11. Kevin et al, I’m no statistician but I know the death rates vary wildly on where you are located and where you actually reside (nursing home, group home, etc.) NYC has a high death rate but it also has people sandwiched cheek by jowl like sardines in a tin during their regular daily lives. More people live in one square block in Manhattan than in town limits of my small town. That doesn’t even take into account tourists, business and international traffic,etc. The main transportation is packed underground subways and their unhealthy air that millions breathe.
    Take for example here in Virginia: 50% more people have died (50+) in one nursing home in the suburbs of Richmond than there are positive cases (only 25. No deaths) in Bedford County.
    There is also evidence that Medicare pays more for CV-19 patients, especially patients on ventilators, than for people with plain old pneumonia or other illnesses. So there is a financial incentive for many hospitals and nursing homes to list deaths and hospitalizations as CV-19 whether or not there is definitive proof that the patient had it. Many hospitals are not run by medical people; they are run by financial conglomerates and hedge funds whose aim is not curing patients but making as much profit as possible off of them regardless of medical outcome. Nursing homes are often run by the same pirates and are sorely understaffed and what staff they have are often not well trained. In VA CNAs are 3/4 of the staff in such homes (I used to work under licensing at Social Services and saw the appalling stats of valid complaints on those awful places). In VA a CNA does not even need to be a high school grad or have a GED or even speak English. They only need minimal skills I could have mastered in elementary school. These CNAs, no matter how sincere, are the people in the majority of staff most nursing home patients encounter.
    I am aware that it is a fictionalized show, but ‘the Resident’ on Fox TV lays bare many of the facts of corporate medical world. It is the truth veiled as a compelling drama.

  12. Hi Mary – I hadn’t heard about Medicare more readily approving claims in virus cases but it wouldn’t surprise me given the priority all things Covid-19 related get. Still, I think that any cases improperly called coronavirus are more than offset by the number of cases that aren’t reported. People are dying of other causes who had but never showed symptoms of the virus because they were never tested. The virus may not have been the only cause of death, but it likely contributed to it, are was the main cause.

    Also, some are isolating deaths to those who are high risk, which is usually (but not always) the case. That doesn’t somehow make it less lethal, because it essentially reverses decades of advances in medicine when these people are taken by the virus. For example 100 million Americans are hypertensive, which is a risk factor. But that represents about 40% of the adult population, so much so that it’s common. And there are millions more young people who have underlying causes and don’t know it, like diabetes, heart disease and the early stages of COPD. It’s all part of the human condition, and it means more people are vulnerable than is commonly thought.

    Originally we were told young people didn’t get the virus, and also that men were much more likely to get it than women. But both theories soon went out the window. There’s just too much about this that isn’t known to say categorically that it isn’t as bad as we’re being told. All that we do know is that 1) the number of cases continues to grow, 2) the number of deaths continues to grow, as do the groups once believed to be unaffected, 3) new information is coming out all the time, often trashing what was thought to be known just a few days or weeks earlier, and 4) there’s still no cure or vaccine.

    When you add up those numbers it’s way to early to be optimistic about this. I’m sympathetic to the counter-theories, but we just don’t know enough to throw caution the wind.

  13. Thanks Kevin! You are a rock (and I mean that in a good way 🙂 I also find solace, for some weird reason, in the thoughts of economist Mohammed El-Erian. He seems to know what he is talking about and speak with compassion and intelligence.

  14. Hi Christine – Thanks for the compliment. I generally agree with the way Mohammed El-Erian sees things playing out. The most important take away of course is what we do with that information. My biggest concern is that fatigue aside, people will move forward and underestimate what they’re/we’re up against. Ultimately we have to be optimistic, but we’ll need a healthy dose of caution between here and there.

  15. I know that I’m getting severe fatigue about this whole C-19 thing. I think the press is keeping busy trying too shove every bit of useless information down our throats too keep the fear mongering alive. That’s one thing that really disappointed me. So I gave up on watching the news. Nice article sir.

  16. Hey it would help if we could get honest truth from the media. Yes I believe that we are dealing with a highly contagious disease and we all need to make adjustments in how we interact with people in public. What you do in your own home is not the discussion here. Normal is never going back to what we had assumed that it was and crying and protesting and getting violent will not bring it back. Yes, we need to change and hopefully correct the obvious gaps in the current situation. I for one will not tolerate having to deal with the government doling out draconian measurements based on their version of “caring for the population “, especially when they have the attitude that we are not capable of making right decisions. However dangerous this virus, with proper maintenance of precautions, most of us will survive as our bodies adapt to the exposure. You talk about COVID-19 fatigue but we have only undergone the first wave of infections and most of the deaths in this first wave, history will show, when researchers finally evaluate the population, that the fatalities occur in those cases of people who had other underlying conditions. I live in New York, and the big hot spots were caused by exposure to many to a person who ignored the telltale symptoms because it was similar to their regular health problems. ( I am talking about the hot spot in New Rochelle caused by one man infecting the entire congregation) The biggest problem with this contagious disease is the lack of adaptation in religious services. This creates hot spots. Again, we have to adapt everything in our lives to be safe. I am very upset that the religious leaders are not coming forth and working with the public health departments. No one is being denied the right to pray but do it with precautions. We had problems with burials because there wasn’t enough mortuaries available because it was not emphasized enough that the bodies were also contagious. ( another new reality)
    At this point in the wave of infection, we as a whole have not realized the situation of the way we live our lives as changed permanently and longing for the good old days needs to stop. We all need to put on our big boy/ girl panties and start creating a new role in life. Do not rely or expect to be handed it, you will need to do it yourself. What frightens me about this COVID-19 situation is the complacency of certain political leaders who seem immune, even though they are high risk individuals ( start with Nancy Pelosi) as if they have hidden knowledge of how the virus really gets spread. I can only hope that history will reveal the truth. Meanwhile I intend to survive.

  17. Hi MariaRose – I agree with what you are saying, but I think COVID is hitting deeper on multiple levels. First, I think people are frustrated that we’re facing a calamity we can’t control. An entire generation has been raised to believe that man will ultimately overcome all obstacles. Thus far, that concept has disintegrated in the face of the virus. Meanwhile, we also have racial unrest, probably the deepest political divisions since the Civil War, a growing gap between rich and everyone else, stagnation and contraction in the middle class, and an entire generation of young people coming out of college as indentured servants. Notice how many of the people participating in the protest marches are young white people. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I think many are the ones who are carrying large student loan debts, have marginal degrees, and have been unable to find living wage jobs. Yes, they’re protesting police brutality and unequal treatment of black Americans, but I think there’s a lot more going on than we think.

    COVID has become the bellwether for a series of problems. I think tens of millions of people are coming to grips with the reality that we’ve come to the end of the good times. But no one’s prepared to face what’s coming next, either financially, socially, spiritually, or emotionally. That’s contributing to both hostility and complacency. On the complacency side, it’s the “deer in the headlights” syndrome. Contemplating what’s about to happen next is so horrific that many are falling back on denial.

    Personally, I think we’ll survive this virus. I’m a lot less optimistic about all the other underlying factors that I think are making the reaction to COVID even worse. The disappearance of Covid won’t solve those problems. But there’s little doubt the onset of the virus has made them all worse.

    As it stands now, I think we need to dig in for the long term, wear masks in public and practice social distancing. And whether we like it or not, we also need to limit our public activities. None of these efforts guarantees immunity from the virus. But they do reduce the likelihood of contracting it. My sense is we’ll be living with this for a long time. I have little faith in the promise of a vaccine. It’ll take years before an effective vaccine has been successfully tested and found to be both effective and not carrying side effects that may be as bad or worse than the virus itself. (Side note: I’m encouraged that the COVID death rate has plummeted, so maybe the solution is in proper treatment, rather than finding a cure. On that front, tremendous progress has already been made.)

    Optimistically, my hope is that COVID will result in a society that has come down off its high horse, and is more willing to deal with uncontrollable crisis the way previous generations did. If we think back to times like the Revolutionary war, the Civil War, the Spanish flu, the Great Depression and World War II, people just dealt with those episodes. There was no choice. History is more powerful than we are collectively or individually. Sometimes all we can do is go along and do the best we can. But I think a lot of people are upset that the golden future they expected – which was implied by the culture – is now seriously threatened.

    I think that’s the biggest issue we need to overcome. Call it accepting reality, or whatever you want, we don’t have a choice anymore.

  18. Kevin you have been the harbinger by both your blog and lifestyle of the emphasis on being self sufficient within our means without need to rely on the need to be part of the popular crowd. It’s one of the reasons I follow, read, and interact here. Just because something is popular doesn’t make it sensible. ( The old jump off a cliff argument as a reference) The main problem today has been caused by our reliance on patterns of getting things done that we haven’t realize that we do have other options to keep going. Plus most people are used to instantly getting results and can’t deal with waiting. We need more people to oppose total control of our private rights—and push for equality how decisions are made concerning key issues that affect everyone like this health crisis. Yes part of the problem is we don’t have enough information to properly deal with it depending on what the circumstances. What works in New York does necessarily mean it would be effective in New Hampshire. But certain behavior does cause problems no matter the settings. It doesn’t help that we are not getting information we need to form a way to proceed, except for those who have taken the time to process all information but even they have a biased opinion. And it doesn’t help that we can’t find comfort in leaning on our old sources. Other than dealing with higher perception of anxiety, we can proceed forward. I say this because most of the perceived anxiety is a leaned reaction to not dealing with change. You, Kevin, are one of the beacons that prove life still goes on despite the chaos surrounding us. The year 2020 is a tuning point let’s not repeat the mistakes of history.

  19. Well, thanks MariaRose! But you may be overestimating me. I’m just as confused as anyone else about this whole situation with the coronavirus. We just don’t seem to be getting good information. And unfortunately, every time there’s a crisis it’s manipulated for politics and economics. As best as I can figure, the best approach for us as individuals is to follow developments as they occur, do our best to make objective assessments about the legitimacy of what we hear and see, and employe loose strategies that help us deal with what’s going on. That’s the most we can do, take a general approach. Anything too specific risks us charging off in the wrong direction.

    My wife and I try to maintain a flexible lifestyle so that we can roll with the punches. I think we’ve lived long enough to know that life takes many directions, even if we don’t know exactly what any one direction will be. But I can’t get past the idea that we’re all flying in the blind here. There is no political leadership from either side, at least none that isn’t politically manipulated, and no concrete answers anywhere. We may be left with little more than muddling through and hoping to come out unscathed.

    But I have to say though thus far our family has not been negatively affected by anything that’s happened this year. In fact, 2020 has been a year of progress thus far. I’m saying this knowing the threat posed by covid, particularly since I had a major surgery a couple of months ago that makes me vulnerable. But we have to be thankful for every day that nothing bad happens.

    Under the circumstances, no matter how much of a future orientation any of us have, or prefer to have, we have very much been reduced to living in the moment. I think that’s really the way life has been throughout most of human history. But we’ve been alternately blessed and cursed to be living in the most secure and predictable time in human history, at least since 1945. Unfortunately, that time period has left us completely unprepared for the very crisis were facing right now, which as I’ve written, actually involves a lot more factors than we generally think. I believe we’re at an inflection point of major proportions, one that will change most of what we think we know. But I don’t believe Covid caused what’s coming, but rather accelerated it. A lot of young people are pessimistic about the future and I don’t blame them. If we don’t find ways to survive and thrive going forward, things can get very dark indeed.

    Again, my loose strategy is to keep as many options open as possible. It may even be time to let go of certain possessions and expectations that will soon be unsustainable. My best hope for the short run is that we avoid an outbreak of general violence after the election. If that happens, covid suddenly won’t seem so threatening.

  20. As a side note to help booster our younger generation negativity, I suggest that they watch (yeah I know that it’s not reality) the newest version addition to the Walking Dead world. The reason I am recommended this is the focus is how the younger generation (who thinks that the older people are not valuing them) learn the reality of actually facing life outside the enclosed safe space and it not the dream world they think it is and they have to work hard to succeed. After watching a few episodes they, the younger generation, may realize that life doesn’t get handed to you. Sorry but I had to bring some lightness to everyone else’ negativity

Leave a reply