Panic, Pandemic, and The Fifth Letter To The Prettiest Girl In Town

Over the last 48 hours, I have gnashed my teeth in rage at some peoples utter and complete ignorance, and had tears streaming down my face at the courage and heart of the human experience.

So mom, things have changed a bit since I wrote you… what… 2 weeks now? Or, maybe its more that perception has changed, as we are globally now facing a pandemic.

Basically, it’s a virus that originated in a wet market in China back in November, and now there are over 140,000 cases worldwide… and growing daily. Total confirmed deaths today are well over 5000.

Course, first reaction was for everyone late last week to panic buy… and for some reason the choice happened to be toilet paper. So, realized I was down to my last roll Friday morn, and went out to get more, and there before my eyes was shelf after empty shelf – nothing left but a few things of paper towels. Wow.

Now, about my teeth, the hospital did finally contact me, consultation for my teeth is May 20th, but who knows what tomorrow will bring, so that seems a long way off. I’m just staying in the now though about all that. Teeth are worse day by day, and right now I just can’t focus too much on what will be in that regard. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I can get this all done and dusted by the end of June… but at this point… it is a bit up in the air.

All that personal stuff aside, one hope right now coming from the experts is that this virus will start to slow down its spread as the Northern Hemisphere goes into spring…but no one knows for certain.

See, this virus is new… full name is Novel Coronavirus 19… Novel meaning new and 19 since it began in 2019.

At first there were many who were not taking the scope of the virus’ spread and impacts seriously. Yet, in the last few days, as more and more information is beginning to come out from Italy, Spain, Britain and all over Europe, the scope and range is sinking in.

Many frontline professionals in Italy, for instance, where the death toll is rising daily, and the new cases doubling day after day, and putting incredible strain on their healthcare system, they are begging everyone to listen… that they wish they had closed everything down when they had the chance. They wish they had done more to warn people to take precautions… like social distancing and to #stayhome… but many just did not believe the spread would happen as fast as it has.

Sure, we all saw what was transpiring in China, but as often happens, the feeling was “well, that can’t happen here”… but we were wrong.

I say we, because it felt distant, ‘over thereish’.

Canada has responded well, but…

Italy shows that less-than-urgent appeals to the public by the government to slightly change habits regarding social interactions aren’t enough when the terrible outcomes they are designed to prevent are not yet apparent; when they become evident, it’s generally too late to act. I and many other Italians just didn’t see the need to change our routines for a threat we could not see.

BOSTONGLOBE.COM | A coronavirus cautionary tale from Italy: Don’t do what we did | Mattia Ferraresi,Updated March 13, 2020, 12:13 p.m.

Its serious mom, and I am a little worried, what with my smoking and finding out my blood pressure is so high, and my age, all of that puts me into that high-risk group. I’m lucky that I have more or less been social distancing myself for half my life, so, and given I’ve been off work now for a couple months, I’m just going to keep doing the same.

Even with all that Canada has done, it may not be enough. We are of course next door to one of the most incompetent White House administrations that has ever been, and the grifters and company that are running the show down yonder in the land of my birth, well, have botched this all so badly that thousands are going to pay the price.

POTUS has spent so much time destroying everything the previous administration accomplished, the most tragic we now know was in 2018 when Trump dismantled the pandemic response strategy. Everything from offices around the world… like in China… with a head person who was in charge of coordinating all the various arms of government, federal down to local… organizing for all the tools they would require in the case of a pandemic.

Instead, the administration is relying on those with absolutely no experience with crisis, political appointments that are merely in place to please and stroke dear leaders’ giant ego, with this swamp of grifters hovering around him like flies focused on making sure they manage to profit off the whole mess. Actually, it kinda looks like all these stupid white guys seem to care about is their own profit share, and it is disgusting.

Yesterday, with intermittent obsessive scrolls through the news and all the points of view online, it struck me that dad and MsB are down there in the midst of all this, and I swear to god mom, if anything happens to them… I don’t know.

To be honest, it is just too horrible a thing to even think of, but if that man they voted for ends up harming them… but {sigh}, all I can do is hope that people just take this serious and just stay home, keep their distance, and maybe, and with the warmer weather, all these measures will slow the spread.

Well, and morbid as it may be to be writing to my dead mother, frankly, I can’t think of anyone better to share this with. I remember the last thing we discussed before that big stroke that took your mind, it was a few days after 9/11… the world seemed scary then… but today this is something far more immediate and personal. I really miss your voice. I miss your wisdom. I miss you.

Yesterday I read where we in London had our 1st case, and another close to us somewhere in Huron/Perth. That number will go up in the days ahead.

Hope and courage spreads though just as fast, and all over Spain and Italy last night throngs of people hung out their windows and clapped in appreciation of those hardworking souls who are there on the frontline, the doctors and nurses and all the staff that have risked their own health.

What is horrifying though, is the level of crass and ignorant ones, those who refuse to be anything but the worst examples of humanity. Some of those loyal Trump followers are so hateful and mean, they feel absolutely no sense of community, no sense of responsibility, merely passengers in life, victims of their own selfish greed.

I mean, mom, your heart would break. The postings online of people begging everyone to be conscious of those with compromised immune systems, serious respiratory issues, cancer patients, all kinds of people who may not fit into the demographic of the majority who are at risk, those over 60. Warnings about those who may not have symptoms, but who could be carriers, and because of their careless actions end up killing the very people they love.

Yes, the world, it can really break my heart.

People feel helpless, you know? And, yes, panic is often the first gut reaction to a crisis. And frankly, that is just hardwired in with most, I suppose. My best and maybe my only contribution I can make is, and even if just in a very small way, help to mitigate some of the panic. Share knowledge certainly, but also share all the beautiful stuff, all the good things that people do… like Mr. Rogers said… look for the helpers.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

So, I’ll try to write more, as the days pass I suspect I’ll have a lot to share with you, as god knows I have got to have an outlet for this rollercoaster ride of emotions… share some of this, the good, the bad and try to overcome all the ugly.

Love Paula

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