Dit artikel ontving als concept ik van een goede relatie in de USA. Die vroeg zich af of het de moeite waard was om te publiceren en of dat wel verstandig was gezien het gespannen klimaat aldaar rond Covid-19 en de verkiezingen. De tekst spreekt voor zich en lijkt wijze lessen te bevatten op basis van 3 opvallende persoonlijke ervaringen. Daarom leek het de moeite waard om dit via WellNed te delen.
Ook in de USA is de zwijgende meerderheid minder negatief dan de schreeuwende en brallende minderheden die het nieuws halen. Hopelijk komt het land na de verkiezingen in rustiger vaarwater en wordt er meer naar elkaar geluisterd. Idem voor Nederland!
Three ways you’ll be unexpectedly unprepared when catching Covid-19
Most of us know about Covid-19’s symptoms, tests, the range of severity, etc. A lot of the information is unfortunately tainted with fakes and intentional misdirection. But what catches us most unprepared are the unknown things. These are in the disturbing reactions from some people in your environment to you being infected. And we’re all unprepared psychologically for isolation, illness and recovery.
Most sane people take measures to avoid infection, like wearing masks in public, washing hands often and staying healthy in general. But when you become infected with Covid-19 – not if (!) – your world suddenly changes dramatically.
Reactions from your environment
People who care about you will respond with commiserations, heartfelt best wishes and kindness. That’s similar to what most people do when someone falls ill with the flu or other common illnesses. Even with life threatening illnesses like cancer, people will be kind even when they don’t know how to be supportive, and even if you’re a chainsmoker and ‘unexpectedly’ get lung cancer (who knew!…).
But unfortunately Covid-19 brings out an unexpected dark side in some people. The reasons are complex, but the FUD-factor (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) fueled by government waffling, misinformation and sheer stupidity is a likely cause. This brings to mind the saying by President Abraham Lincoln that “you can fool all people some of the time, some people all the time, but not all people all the time”.
Also, the World Wide Web is increasingly becoming an ‘Echo chamber’ where people find what confirms their beliefs. They don’t go there to be educated. This is a vicious circle for polarization.
In a couple of years, a lot of people will likely feel shame or anger about being misdirected by people and institutions they trusted blindly.
The first reaction that will blindside you is… Anger or even Aggression.
Some people will blame you personally (!) for getting infected even though you took all practical measures to avoid it. Weirdly, it’s the people who do NOT take precautions themselves – people in denial or misled – who are the most rude. They apparently feel somehow insulted by you disproving the – in their eyes – non-existent pandemic. Why!?
Hello wake up and smell the 200,000+ victims in the USA alone, and counting!!! Covid-19 isn’t just a ‘mild’ flu. It severely affects everything, and apparently even your brain before being infected. Just look at Trump, wait for his relapse or secondary infection. Although, as the saying goes, ‘God protects children and idiots’.
So how can you react? Never fight anger with anger. Facts also rarely help. Anger and aggression are emotions, so don’t attempt to dampen them with rationality. All you can say is “Thank you, I care about your health too”. That will likely cause another bout of ranting, but if you just walk away, some of them will come to their senses later and feel embarrassment or shame. And so they should!
The second weird reaction is, that you are seen as an Instant Helpline.
People will expect you to be instantly knowledgeable about Covid-19, just because you’ve caught the virus! They suddenly regard you as their personal help desk or hotline about all things Covid-19. This is even weirder because they would not do the same with someone catching the regular flu, or measles, etc.? At least, probably not.
They barely offer condolences or express worry about your health, but pepper you with questions about the virus and are surprised when you don’t have all the answers. Hey, caller, it’s not an Information virus that spreads knowledge! It’s an organic virus that affects people with a bewildering array of symptoms! Get real, surf the web and reject fake news with some sense of sanity.
A third reaction is that you are now a Leper! Go away, do not approach me!
During the week(s) that you suffer from the virus, you will of course isolate yourself to avoid contaminating others. And afterwards, on the path to recovery, in fits and starts for some and long-term effects for others, you will wear a facemask. But still, people who know that you have had the disease will suddenly cross the road or reverse and hurriedly take a different aisle in the supermarket, just to avoid you. That can be one of the two categories of people above or people that you have not seen or talked to in a while. Or people that are ashamed to face you because of the above or talking behind your back.
So be prepared for the above reactions. Don’t fight back, just endure. It will all pass, eventually.
What people run hot and cold about now, won’t matter 5 minutes later, or 5 hours, let alone 5 days, weeks, months or years. Let it go now and you’ll feel better about it rather than letting it fester.
What everyone should do about Covid-19 sufferers is CARE! Sufferers are SICK! They don’t feel well during and after recovery, they need your compassion, they need your attention. Do you even need to ask why? Because they need to hear that they are still appreciated as human beings. That’s why! They need help and practical support, not recrimination or endless one-way communication. Shame on you!
But all of the above is probably a sign of the times and the relentless polarization of U.S. American society. It is an obsessive focus on what sets us apart, instead of what Unites us. One of the most influential founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, invented a lot of things. His best ‘invention’ was the creation of a common spirit, a pride in our country and community that endures. He created ‘Americans’ that way. But will that spirit survive the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s coming aftershocks? Or was that spirit already tainted before the pandemic hit (very likely given the US political climate). Time will tell.
In the meantime, try to be a human being, someone who Cares for others. Don’t be a walking, talking opinion, only concerned with being Right, with looking after Number 1 only. Care means empathy, even when you don’t agree, especially so.
In other words, To whom it may concern…
A lot of people – or possibly most – are woefully unprepared for all the Covid ramifications. I know, because I was unprepared. And you will likely be unprepared for the above and a lot more as well.
Be aware, Prepare! Be well, be patient and Take Care in all the ways you can think of.
Remember that BLM banner “I understand that I will never understand, but I will stand with you”.
Pr (name withheld).
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