All We Have is Us
Just a quick reminder - we do this because:
1) We know this is a highly infectious virus -- about 2-3 times more infectious than this year's flu.
2) It is a novel virus and therefore we have no natural immunity.
3) Current data tell us is is considerably more lethal than the flu, particularly in vulnerable populations such as:
a) those over 60;
b) those with underlying pulmonary conditions;
c) those with underlying cardiovascular disease;
d) those who are immunocompromised
4) We have no vaccine. (And when this is done and the scientists who are working around the clock to develop a vaccine are successful, we are gonna have a REAL SERIOUS TALK, America, about vaccines and vaccination. Brace yourselves.)
5) We have no studied, available antiviral treatment yet.
All we have is us. And that feels Not Big Enough. It feels as though we should all be making some grand gesture to save our neighbors and protect the Republic. But seriously, working in your jammies is basically the whole war for most of us.
This is how we collectively #FlattentheCurve and buy our physicians and healthcare systems time to do the things they need to do in times of disaster preparedness -- make sure we have enough staff, stuff, space and systems in place to handle the anticipated surge in really sick patients. Every day we adhere to social distancing, we buy a little more time for preparedness, and diminish the peak rate at which patients will need critical healthcare.
This is not nothing, folks.
I know this comes with economic fear, uncertainty and pain for everyone -- critical levels of fear and pain for some. This gets weighed in policy decisions, I promise. Policy makers are carefully weighing the science behind these public health efforts against the data that predict the pain and suffering AND health consequences of joblessness and poverty -- social scientists and public health officials know that both matter.
The science tells us that if we radically flatten the curve starting Right Now, we can not only prevent overwhelming the healthcare system, but we will also have a much faster and more robust recovery on the back side. We can fix anything but dead, America, and we will.
I KNOW the uncertainty is driving everyone bonkers. Physicians in the trenches where the surge has hit are already feeling swamped. Meanwhile, in the rest of the country the anticipation is making us antsy -- and making us question: is this all an overreaction? Are we doing more harm than good - especially with regards to children for whom school IS the social safety net? Are we doing the right thing?
This is where we have to lean in and #TrustScience, #TrustDoctors and, frankly, learn from the experience of other countries. We have examples, good and bad, of how this can play out. And in many parts of America we have leadership that has put communities on the leading edge of a Suppression Strategy for this pandemic, a strategy that will save thousands of lives.
Stay the course.
I hate it, too, for the record. Like, really, infinity with the heat-of-a-supernova hate it.
Meanwhile, keep connecting. Keep asking questions. Keep LAUGHING and oh-my-gosh keep making the memes I love them. The waiting is hard, I know, but not nearly as hard as what will come if we don't.
A few days ago I wrote about#PhysicalResiliency strategies we all should be trying to implement in order to stay healthy and to increase our resiliency capacitance. Those strategies are essentially the same across human bodies, and all of us should be adhering to them as much as possible.
Before I sign off I wanted to give a quick - and by no means exhaustive - list of strategies categorized under#MentalResiliency. Practicing any one of these helps build our personal resiliency capacitance, and I find myself relying on many of them. If you're struggling a bit today, may I suggest picking one to focus on for the next three days? I would especially love anyone who wanted to come back and share their experience with it:
- Increased Connection
- Meaningful Experience including work, volunteerism, play etc.
- Savoring (stepping outside an experience to really view and appreciate it)
- Framing (or reframing) of experiences
The best part? When our personal resilience is high, our ability to show up as our "best selves" for each other increases, too.
Be brave, generous and kind, always.