An Abundance Of Caution

I’m not an alarmist, I deliberately avoid watching the hand-wringing news and for the most part I’m not in a high risk category when it comes to coronavirus,or COVID-19. I’ve always been a “hand washer” and I can time the process of washing them with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star just fine, thank you (instead of that mind worm I use the beginning of Fly Me To The Moon, which conveniently reaches 20 seconds right when you reach the word “hand”). But I’m taking coronavirus seriously.

I’ve previously mocked people who hoard dust masks (which won’t work), Purell (which may work but won’t protect everyone that can’t get any because of the hoarders), and toilet paper (which is proven to work but how much do you really need anyway?) and will continue to do so. We don’t need self-absorbed behavior right now. We need self-aware behavior; Be prepared, be considerate, be scarce for awhile if necessary. I have enough food to camp at home for a couple of weeks if the same travel restrictions imposed on Italy are imposed on the United States. Contingency plans aren’t panicky or hoarding behavior, just as building a nest egg for retirement is expected one might expect people to have a bit of food ready if needed.

One phrase, Legal and PR Department-approved, seems to be taking hold as the world reacts to the spread of COVID-19: “Out of an abundance of caution” [fill in with cancellation or new procedure here]. Out of an abundance of caution we’re postponing this trade show. Out of an abundance of caution we’ve temporarily switched from ceramic coffee mugs to disposable cups. Out of an abundance of caution we’ve cancelled all visitor meetings. Out of an abundance of caution we are extending college Spring Break by a week … or in some case, out of an abundance of caution all students will take online classes for the rest of the semester.

Cancelling the rest of in-class participation for the rest of the semester is an extraordinary step, but logical when your student population consists of a high percentage of people from around the globe. I feel for those students having their very expensive college experience cut short, but I’m a student of history and recognize the devastation a pandemic or plague can cause. Humans have one major predator left in this world besides other humans, and that’s viruses. On the plus side we’ve never been more aware of how to fight this predator, but getting all spun up isn’t helping anything. The world and coronavirus doesn’t owe you anything: deal with it like an adult.

There’s plenty of examples of taking an abundance of caution too far (I’m looking at you toilet paper hoarder), but it’s a reasonable request to take extra measures now to safeguard against an uncontainable pandemic later. So as we all look around at this strange new reality, make the most of it; work to contribute more to the positive direction of humanity with all that extra time at home instead of binge watching television or 24-hour news. Take walks outside away from the crowds. The world could use a little more sanity right about now. I believe that starts with you and me, kiddo. Ready?

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