JULY 20, 2020
In the last brief post, Part 1, I said that we would cover in Part 2 here the elements that might make up our individual stress threshold.. then using those elements to help inspire a personal plan of action in the event things in your neck of the woods might get a bit too critical to stick around. Taking the priority we established in Part 1… watching out for yourself and your immediate loved ones first… we can get a little more prepared to meet some unexpected events down the line.
To begin to explore ways to be prepared to “play it safe” we should probably begin by assessing what’s causing all our stress factors to push us to even consider a “be prepared” safety plan in this land of the free, and home of the brave. Now, if we want to try and be a bit politically neutral about all this we should admit that some of the stress markers I will be listing could translate differently to others. Humans are diverse normally so it would be fair to assume that one person’s stress could be another person’s… non-stress… or substituted for a different stress. The whole point is that stress in the nation is building all across society and it works differently for all of us. All that being said… the following is a list of my own personal “stress basket” of goodies which you might compare to yours.
Let’s add up the situation this July 16, 2020 to see what’s in our “stress basket” of goodies…
- The nation has completely incompetent leadership to get us through this (Trump.. as if you didn’t guess). No fireside chats, no cheerleading speeches of hope, zero credibility because of a history of lies and deceit. Not only that, but the incompetent leadership has extended to all areas of the government since the glory days (years) before the pandemic. Trump has decided to shed all responsibility of any Federal response to the states… making sure he bullies whatever he wants. Fifty different governors doing fifty different things with no help from the Fed.
- The afore mentioned shutdown indeed seem to lower most the pandemic counts. Unfortunately it also turned a number of people with power into turnips who demanded we needed to save the economy more than human lives. In fact, the economy, although suffering and likely heading into a recession, was a far cry away from ending the country. Even so.. the turnips won and everything opened back up. Now the nation is in pandemic free-fall breaking all records, killing more people… and the turnips are back saying our children must go back to school.. and here we go again… the schools open this Fall…. And the pandemic will continue unabated.. and more people will suffer, with likely a number of kids in that mix.
- We have a White House Covid Task Force! Well, we did. Now they are rather a figurehead that answers to Trump’s whims and perceptions. We’ve grown to trust the two doctors, Birx and Fauci…. and it looks like Trump’s election plans include an open “fight” with Fauci, to discredit him, as Trump has done countless times with administration staff in the last three years, when they don’t agree with him. So… no executive leadership and no more task force leadership… and our once-acclaimed institutions like the CDC, NIH, FDA.. are shells of their former credibility because they answer to Trump, or else.
- There remains no national strategy. Virus testing is a mess. Long lines, delays, testing results take days or weeks. Individual states ordering PPE supplies for the medical people are being blindsided by the government grabbing what they order. There are STILL supply problems and Trump is incapable of anything.
- The current post-shutdown Covid wildfire sweeping the nation is definitely going to put a drain on delivering medical care. Let’s set aside the constant need for PPE and other supplies in our ER’s, ED’s, clinics, and hospitals. Staffing is already starting to dwindle down in some areas. Our frontline heroes are simply human like the rest of us and suffer the needs we all have concerning family, in spite of their dedication. The medical people themselves get sick with Covid.. and some make it, some die, some have long-term recoveries, and some have diminished capacity as a result of the disease progression. People everywhere need time off… some need it to care for family members who could have the disease or some other health malady. The point is… the chaos is going to get way more chaotic as our ability to staff the front lines gets affected.
- We have a national election coming in November and if a new person wins… the earliest he/she would take over would be January 20. That’s five months away.. and in our current chaotic environment that’s a lifetime of possible events that could happen. Now add to that time… if Trump loses the election… he will do everything and all things possible to delay leaving, up to and including challenging everything in the courts. In essence, while the election might provide some hope away from Trump… we have got a long way to get there. Until then.. we are on our own individually.
- The economy is already suffering big time to a point nearly with the intensity of the Great Depression. It might not seem much like it yet to the average American because our grocery stores and drug stores and Walmarts and Home Depots are still open with little or no scarcity of items. But that could very suddenly change. We’ve already heard of the meat packing companies having Covid outbreaks with masses of employees, forcing factory closings. There are other factories making many consumer items that could very easily fall victim to a Covid outbreak. But even that being said, we must think… how do those products get to our stores for us to buy? Trucks and rail. What happens when warehouses have to close… truck drivers get affected? They may appear to be safe in their trucks all alone.. by they have families as well where certain conditions could cause drivers to go home. We shouldn’t be lured into some complacency that because there’s still things in the store that everything is somehow all ok.
- Civil discord? It’s all about elements in our society just percolating under the surface in an environment of general complacency, or in Covid chaos distraction… and the stresses added by staying-at-home mandates and shutdowns… there’s no question there will be more open civil turmoil, if only to release all those listed pent up stresses and frustrations. The Black Lives Matter demonstrations that spun off the toppling of statues recently helps illustrate what could happen. There’s going to be more of this kind of thing as we all go stir crazy in having no plan, no leadership.
- The screaming media! Whether you prefer getting your information fix from CNN or FOX, or any of the other networks… it’s still a barrage of information that can be questionable in its credibility and/or presentation context. Even that might be tolerable if it were all limited to just the pandemic. But the nonsense is also political… between the sayers and naysayers… and election posturing. It’s all noise when all we want is to be led out of this mess. Give us something we can do! As it turns out.. wearing a mask and safe distancing is pretty much it. Then the media gives us the tragic stories of how nasty this virus can get in how it kills previously healthy people, maims people, destroys lives. Doom & gloom everywhere… and will continue for the foreseeable future.
- Those tally numbers you see on the sides of your TV screen with the epidemic stats? While generally from accepted counting and stat sources… is likely to be grossly under-estimated given a number of reasons.
- Many, many people are staying home and riding out the effects of the virus for fear of going to the hospital.. and many have died and their deaths were attributed to other reasons. The fear is huge that if you reach a point where you need hospital care to help you breathe and recover, it’s basically a crap shoot as to whether you will die in there, alone and forgotten in the midst of all the chaos (not the fault of staff)..and your body ends up in a trailer cooler out back of the hospital indefinitely.. or some mass grave somewhere. Or… you walk out of the place cured, or with some kind of diminished capacity for the rest of your life. So these stats alone are not counted.
- There is no uniform national reporting of Covid counts other than by states and some of those are “tainted” due to poor or incomplete processes. The CDC historically is the one source for statistical counting of disease spread but, again, nothing national has been pressed forward. C) There’s little or no national plan nor any state plans currently in place to trace infections, and the public in general is reluctant to participate for fear of some level of social repercussion.
Bottom line… the numbers on your TV set very likely should be much higher and that alone should be of concern to everyone. So this further increases the fear of the unknown of this disease and who, how, or where the disease will go or strike next.
But here’s the greatest stress factor that we can all agree on, beside ourselves getting this thing, is the eternal worry for the health and safety of our loved ones and family members in all this mess. If we are personally responsible for others, like our children, elderly mom and dad with their existing maladies, are we going to be able to help them? If we get this virus are they going to be placed in danger with them taking care of us? That’s our focus.
Ok… that’s some of the basic stresses I can readily identify with and it’s all related to Covid, and you might be able to add to that with your own worries… even political and social worries. So far Covid-19 has been uncontrollable in it’s spread and most certainly ignored by our government. We can mitigate it to SOME extent by protecting ourselves and others by wearing the mask and social distancing. The idea is to buy some time for the science to catch up to develop some treatments and a vaccine.. mass produce it… then distribute it… and then wait to determine where on the distribution chain you personally are after all the politics subsides on who are the priorities. Yeah.. could be a long time for sure.
These stress factors now become my motivation, incentive, to try and put together an action plan for simply surviving to some yet unknown future date when things will ease up as science catches up and as society finds a livable balance. With a second shutdown very imminent in most states you really need to think the first rule in these situations… You have to watch out for No. 1, and that means yourself and loved ones for which you are responsible.
I’m reminded of an old Twilight Zone episode where the neighbors laugh at the neighbor down the street for building a fallout shelter. Then nuclear war begins… and everyone runs to the prepared neighbors home to seek safety in his shelter only to be shut out from entry because there’s not enough room beyond his own family. When I suggest that you have to watch out for number one, yourself and family… I’m not suggesting cutting yourself completely off from all communication or what social activity you chose to engage in, as this is not a nuclear war scenario. We are all going to need to pitch in and help each other as the situations present themselves. But it makes sense that once you have done the best you can to prepare yourself.. then you are in a better position to indeed help your fellow man. Much like the action the flight attendants tell you to take should the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling….always put yours on first, then help others.
Don’t just be complacent and sit home and take it all in. Very true most things we cannot change, but we can try to adapt and affect little changes to help ourselves survive.
Now, with all the stress situations I cannot change listed above, let’s meander over to Part 3 to begin formulating my own plan in areas I might change to buy time… distance myself from getting the virus.
.*** PROCEED TO PART 3 HERE ***
Return to Part 1 HERE