As of this column, more than 6,351 positive tests in the state of Indiana and 245 deaths.
For the United States, it’s more than 453,750 cases and 16,000 deaths. I’m rounding up because the numbers are changing so quickly.
Someone asked me recently, “As a member of The Media”--a phrase that usually implies we have underground Media meetings and all know each other, when in reality, that would be like assuming all sci-fi nerds know each other. We show up to a lot of the same stuff, and have a lot in common, and we’re always mysteriously present at traffic accidents, but no.
And while I’m on this, I’ve only ever heard another reporter use the phrase “the scoop” ironically.
Although I understand the confusion. Most journalists tried irony in high school and were never able to stop.
Anyway, someone asked me, as a member of The Media, if I thought the coronavirus pandemic was being blown out of proportion. This was a day before the stay-at-home directive began.
It would be fair to say everyone now has a sense of how serious this is. It has pervaded every aspect of everyone’s lives. We’re all living in a historic moment, the sort of global shift that will likely be measured in “before” and “after.”
We broke a million positive cases worldwide last week, with now nearly 90,060 deaths.
But for all I know, after this is over--because all things come to an end--things could return completely to normal. People are funny like that. Things could also change forever because the virus has rapidly forced us to modify the way we connect with each other, conduct business and deliver essential services. Many of those changes, including expanded remote and teleservices, may stick.
I do know that it is terrifying to listen to the news. Like many people, my husband and I have an AI-device that reads us the news every morning at 5:30 a.m. when my husband gets ready for work, and I can hear it from upstairs. Urgent-sounding voices read off the latest death tolls and I hear sound-bytes of people stranded on cruise ships. It’s straight out of the opening of an apocalyptic thriller.
I think it’s hard to put something like this into proportion, as we live through it, and as many people are anxious and afraid.
For a single person to feel the entire weight of this epidemic, to worry about it in scale, would be impossible and unhealthy. There is only so much the average person can do--maintaining a social distance of at least six feet away from people outside your household, washing your hands for 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face and taking other precautions.
But against the nearly 90,060 deaths, we also have approximately 340,640 worldwide cases of people who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered from it.
Fear can only help you to the point where you are following expert-(not me)-recommended measures to protect the health of yourself, your loved ones and everyone else. Beyond that, just be hopeful. Protect your sanity, even if you have to make lame jokes to do it, and if you have the means to do so, be generous. Many “average” people are sewing masks. But if you can only protect yourself, then by the nature of the virus, that still helps everyone.
Kristen Inman is a staff writer at the Greene County Daily World and can be reached at email@example.com. This column is reformatted from a social media post Kristen made on April 3, with numbers updated to April 10 statistics.