Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Is it poor taste to make light of a disease that has managed to take down several thousands of people? Probably, but if you're reading this, you're probably not here for our sophisticated takes on pop culture. History has been made in the past week, and not necessarily for the better. Traveling, sports, conventions, movie productions, and meetings are being postponed or cancelled worldwide, and even schools are being moved to an online format or cancelling classes. Some of us are still plugging away at our places of work, including myself, as a healthcare provider. So what kind of impact has this virus had on our society, and what are we to do in light of it? Your friendly neighborhood nurse is here to help you out! Let's take a deeper look into it.
I won't go into detail about the virus (Covid-19) itself, but I will say that while it isn't the deadliest pandemic we have ever endured, it is extremely contagious, especially for those who are immunocompromised, so taking some precautions would be smart. Unfortunately, these concerns have been misinterpreted slightly by some media outlets and word of mouth, and our current society has descended into a state of modern mass hysteria. Toilet paper and bottled water have been flying off the shelves as people "prepare" for a long self-quarantine. We've all seen the pictures on social media of the empty shelves at local grocery stores (photo by Chris Secor), or maybe even seen the bare-naked shelves ourselves. While hoarding more rolls of toilet paper than you'll need for years probably isn't helpful, limiting unnecessary contact with at-risk populations will be. Unfortunately, some of that "unnecessary" contact has become necessary for some professions, such as health care providers, sports media, staff of sports organizations, casts and crews of productions, and other jobs that really require the large events to keep the ball rolling. Some of these people will be able to work from home while the world is stopped, but some won't be so lucky. There are plenty of negatives to this crisis we find ourselves in, but we need to find a way to refocus and hone in on some positives. Finding those positives may be easier said than done, however.
So what is the world to do when they're all at home and there's no big events to watch, or things to go to? While people are still heading to work, an enormous amount of the population are out of work temporarily or working from home, which leaves more time for entertainment. I would guess that a boom in home entertainment is about to ensue. Movies, TV, video games, and everything else at home is about to have more users concurrently than they've ever had before. Digital video game distributor Steam reported that they reached nearly 20 million concurrent users, which was a new high for them. More and more of these companies will probably start to experience similar milestones, and eventually some of them will realize that this is the time to capitalize on the mass migration to home entertainment. I'm no big-time risk-taker or idea guy, but even I can see that the market is ripe for something. If this soft two-week "quarantine" is truly going into effect, there is opportunity.
Take advantage of whatever opportunities have befallen you in this current environment.
While opportunities abound for companies and corporations, they also exist for you, the consumer! What are you going to do with all your free time (if you have it, unlike me)? Start or finish that game you've been playing through, read that book or comic you've been meaning to, or start a new hobby that you've always wanted to try? Consider this a challenge to you; do whatever thing you've wanted to do for a while and haven't gotten around to! While this pandemic may be a scary thing for some and a minor inconvenience for others, take advantage of whatever opportunities have befallen you in this current environment. And if this worldwide crisis is just a minor inconvenience for you; why not help out someone in need? If you've got the time and the resources, the least you can do would be to help someone that may be in a worse situation than you. The elderly, who are the most at-risk population to contract this virus, are the most likely to require assistance; in their day-to-day activities, and help with avoiding contact from unknown sources. Look for ways that you can help them out, whether it's a physical interaction like shopping for groceries, or even a financial gift or ordering necessities to their residence. Like I said; opportunities abound, and helping someone else counts as one!
So in conclusion, does this virus suck? Absolutely. Should that deter us from making the most of the situations we find ourselves in? No way! Here's my quick hits of what you should take from this article: Don't panic. Wash your hands. Think of other people. Make the most of the opportunities that you have. Spend time with your family. Play lots of video games. Hopefully these little bits of advice will stick with you through whatever craziness we're about to experience in the next few weeks. Stay safe, stay smart, and we'll make it through this together.
Isaac Edlund is a Registered Nurse at Buffalo Hospital in MN, and revels at the thought of being home for two weeks