First, a warning: if you have been experiencing extreme anxiety from over-exposure to coronavirus news, this piece is not for you. Please, first and foremost, take the space you need for yourself, and the care needed to get through these moments.
Now. I am writing this to everyone else. Those of you who have largely focused on the physical aspects of this pandemic. You’re doing what the CDC has informed you to do and have been keeping updated on all the stuff about social distancing. I’m guessing you have a kitchen full of non-perishable food, and you have varying qualities of toilet paper depending on how early to the punch you got. Whenever you get a delivery, you make sure to wash your hands, and you’re making plans for a long haul stay at home.
Great. Wonderful. This is all essential. And it’s incredible how social media has allowed us to spread the news of how essential these things all are so quickly and so effectively.
But there is something else, something that worries me, about what’s coming.
Just as with the physical safety and preparation of most Americans, it seems to be working on a sort of delay, maybe because we are a country so used to denialism and fantasizing. First we thought we didn’t need to stock up, and then we were all stocking up, leading to huge lines and hoarding. Even now, only 26% of Americans have changed their daily lives in a major way due to the pandemic.
So it should not be surprising that this next stage of preparation has perhaps not even crossed people’s minds.
The preparation I am speaking of is not physical, but emotional and spiritual.
For the most part, we are still seeing a lot of discussion about the difficulties of living under virtual quarantine, debates about what is fully safe and what isn’t, and lots and lots of humor. What we are not seeing, however, is much awareness of what is coming.
As a New Yorker, and as an orthodox Jew whose communities have been hit harder and quicker than most other places, this worries me.
Let me give you some quick examples: I already have multiple friends who have lost family members to this virus. I personally know multiple people and friends who have been in…