It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Less than a month ago, the Wuhan virus was just a Chinese virus barely getting any attention as it was rapidly spreading around the globe. Within little more than a couple weeks, it has stunned the world and literally locked down countries, states, and cities. We are witnessing an historic invisible pernicious threat, but we are also each of us part of an historic response. Our governments are taking aggressive unprecedented measures to protect the public and the private sector is stepping up with American ingenuity to solve shortages and pressing problems. And Americans are not turning on one another; they are turning toward each other reaching out to help family, friends, and neighbors.
Americans are a stubbornly independent breed who highly cherish and prize their freedom, so most of us chaff when our freedoms are curbed. We do what we want and go where we want when we want, so travel bans, canceled sports and entertainment were a bit of shock. Closing bars and restaurants really cramped our style. Closing schools presented an incredible inconvenience as some parents must forgo a paycheck to care for their children. And with public meetings over ten highly discouraged if not prohibited, many Americans are either working from home or even worse laid off. The impediment to our liberty is annoying, but the potential economic damage is daunting.
While we are all being highly inconvenienced and perhaps economically injured, we must all remember that this Chinese virus is very contagious and very dangerous. As we are seeing in Italy, an exponentially spreading pandemic can quickly overwhelm health care systems. We can treat it, but if the numbers explode rapidly, people will needlessly die simply because there are not enough beds or ventilators. And quite frankly, no one knows exactly how bad it will get, but there is sound reason to believe it could be catastrophic if we don’t act.
We will beat this unseen enemy, but the goal is to beat it much sooner rather than later. First, we slow and stop the spread; and second get people back to work. The first phase is social distancing or more simply drastically reducing pubic contact to contain this Chinese virus. At the same time, we must marshal all available resources to ensure we have enough test kits, hospital beds, and ventilators to treat those who succumb to serious symptoms.
If we all abide by these unparalleled social distancing prescriptions, we will hopefully see a palpable slowing of the virus spread within a few weeks, so we can get back to work and avoid long lasting wide spread economic carnage. Every generation faces challenges and sacrifices. Our grandparents and parents were asked to go to war; we are being asked to stay home. We can do this!
We are social animals, so most of us dislike public isolation. However, we can all make the best of it; actually with the right attitude, it’s an opportunity. Read that book you have been wanting to read or learn a language. It’s a great time for spring cleaning; declutter your home and your life. Or how about that home project you have been putting off? Build that garden or remodel the bathroom. It appears a lot of yard work is getting done.
We also have a rare opportunity to reconnect with our families. Modern life is so busy and hectic we often miss those basic simple times of just enjoying each other. That person on the couch next to you is your spouse; you enjoy each other, so take advantage of this forced house arrest. Forget social media and video games; play board games. Your children are quite clever and entertaining, but they will be grown and gone before you know it. Establish that fun relationship now, so they will still want to spend time with you when the restaurants reopen.
Above all, pray! Reach out to God or renew your relationship with God. If you are not reading your Bible, you now have time. Read the Bible daily; it has all the answers and most importantly, the Bible offers hope! Our governments are doing all they can and we must each do our parts, but ultimately America will be delivered by God. Thankfully we are coming together as Americans to meet this challenge, but the best thing we can do is pray together!
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Pete Riehm is the host of Common Sense Radio heard 8pm every Thursday on FMTalk106.5 or streaming at fmtalk1065.com. Email him at [email protected] or on Twitter @PeteRiehm or visit http://peteriehm.com.