There are lots of areas around the world right now where orders to “Shelter in Place” have been issued. In others, people have been requested to stay home by “Safer at Home” campaigns. Some people seem upset by this. Unfortunately, just like a lot of people refuse to plan for any type of emergency, it seems like lots of people refuse to recognize this pandemic. Moving about for anything but the most essential things puts you, your loved ones, and those you encounter at risk.
I prefer to think of this as a bugging in scenario. While there may be no zombies or nuclear fallout, traveling around unnecessarily is still very dangerous. So, the best option is to avoid that contact with others so that we can let the virus burn itself out.
Unfortunately, those with no planning panic at the thought of isolating themselves. Realization that they have no store of essentials to sustain them causes several different possible reactions. Some panic and rush to hoard whatever might spontaneously leap to their mind as “essential.” This results in chaos and some odd buying patterns, like the toilet paper hoarding. Many rushed past food, water, and medical supplies, to grab the most toilet paper they could heap on a cart. I hate to inform them, but without food and water there is not much need for toilet paper. Besides, as much as our germophobic hygiene obsessed society would hate to think of it, humans survived for a long time without toilet paper.
Others react with anger based on this panic. They say that being told to stay home is a violation of their rights. In my eyes this is just a knee jerk reaction. I am a very big proponent of individual rights. This is a public health situation and has to be treated as a threat. Mandates to shelter would have never been needed if people just used common sense and paid attention to the warnings. Instead people still go about like nothing is going on. While statistically this is not anything like the 1918 Spanish Flu, it does have the potential to be very devastating. With much larger numbers of people traveling much more and farther on normal days, one infected person could set off a chain to infect thousands. Limiting contact limits the spread and is the only 100% effective precaution.
Still others react with panic driven by fear based on a lack of control. These people tend to insist that the government is not doing enough and must help them. This is due to the fact that they have been totally dependent on these support systems beforehand. They are used to having things just magically taken care of for them. They don’t care to know how it happens, just that they don’t have to bother with it. They are happy as long as they can get up every day, swing through a drive through for breakfast, go about their morning, get take out for lunch, and then stop on the way home by to pick up a pizza for dinner. When this is interrupted, they have nothing to fall back on. Most take no responsibility for the issues. They just point fingers and place blame on others for not fixing it so that their lives are not inconvenienced.
Fortunately, if you have even done basic planning, isolating should be less of a shock. While you may not have everything you want, you should have what you need in quantities that keep from making unnecessary trips out. You are probably much more likely to be adaptive and make due. If beans and rice are all you have until your order at the local grocer can be filled, then you make the best of it. If you can’t get the brand you like of an item, you take the brand you can. That attitude is one of the best tools to get you through this.
One other things to take from this is that this is a great soft run for your planning. It will expose some weak points that you need to remedy. Luckily, things should begin to stabilize as supply chains catch up and health care providers find out more info on COVID-19 treatment. So during this time that you may have a bit more free time to use, review things and make notes as to what needs to be beefed up or changed. If it is more supplies you need, go ahead and order them if you can. If it is revising how you react to certain situations, sit down with your family or group and hash out how to amend the plan.
Lastly, let me just say that there is a bright spot in this that some people may pass up. On normal days families are in such a frantic rush to get to work, school, and activities that it is hard to squeeze in time to bond. During this time, lots of those commitments will be eased up. Take some of that extra time to prepare and enjoy a family meal, play games, have a long phone conversation, or whatever brings you you closer to those you love, even if they are far away geographically. The technology is there to talk to, see, or even play games with them no matter how far they may be. So make use of it and hopefully we will all emerge from this better for the shared experience.
Stay prepared and stay safe out there…. bugged in.