Every single morning of the past month, I’ve woken up with a scratchy throat. Every single morning, I think uh-oh. It’s happening. I’ve got it.
Spoiler: I haven’t gotten it. Yet. I expect I will someday.
Flattening the curve is important to keep from overwhelming our medical system, which would lead to more deaths. But theoretically, we’ll still have just as many cases this way as we would if we let it run wild. Because we have no vaccine, we can’t stop this thing from spreading. We really need to keep everyone from getting it at one time, but realistically we can’t stop people from getting it eventually.
So yeah, I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll eventually get COVID-19. You most likely will too.
And yes, that could end badly for you. But it might not be that bad. In fact, it likely won’t be that bad. We hear about the hospitalizations and the deaths because that’s what’s being reported, but it looks like the general consensus is that 80% of cases are labelled as “mild”. This isn’t a mild cold, exactly—in this case, “mild” literally means anything except “going to the hospital”—but it won’t kill you. 80% is eight out of ten. If, on some weird timeline, all members of both the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC got COVID-19 at the same time, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell would be getting their frosted tips touched up in two weeks—and realistically speaking, Nick Carter and Howie would be back on the tour bus after a month or so of recovery.
Don’t get me wrong: this is an extremely serious situation. We need to be taking all the precautions we’re taking and more. People have died. People will continue to die. More people are getting seriously ill and dying than probably ought to, and we’re not exactly ahead of this thing. You need to be careful about protecting yourself and staying at home—especially if you have any co-morbidities or are in an at-risk group. Everyone thinks the worst only happens to someone else, but it could just as easily happen to you. Even if you’re part of the vast majority that avoids the hospital, you’ll still be pretty sick for a while. Too sick to work, in most cases. And of course, there are other things to be afraid of—the economy’s in trouble and you’re probably worried about your loved ones.
That said, it’s important to keep a level head. Real life is still happening(ish). If you convince yourself that you’re going to die if you catch this thing, you’re going to get stuck in that mindset even after we’re allowed to return to the world. How you react now is how you’ll react in the future.
Again, unless you’re older, repeatedly exposed (like healthcare workers), or chronically ill, you are much more likely to recover than not. It won’t be a fun two weeks, but in the vast majority of cases you’ll be okay without medical intervention. The big scary numbers you see reported on the news don’t reflect most people that have actually contracted this virus. The media doesn’t really know the good numbers because most mild cases aren’t recorded. In most areas of the country, as of this writing, the requirements for getting tested are pretty stringent: you must be a certain age, a healthcare worker, or have severe symptoms. You’ll likely pass this thing without ever becoming a statistic. You might get it and not even know you’ve had it!
Why doesn’t the media try to pick our spirits up, then? your Fox-news-watching parents might ask. Well, that’s easy: reporters also have to sustain themselves in a world where we refuse to pay for printed news media—how many times have you ignored the subscription requests for your local paper before reading it in incognito mode so it can’t trace your “free reads”? Dramatic headlines drive clicks, which makes ad revenue (on that note, if you want more content, head over to my homepage…) It’s that capitalism thing.
Stay home. Wash your freaking hands. If you get sick, accept it and take proper care of yourself so that you don’t make it worse. And if nothing else, see this silver lining: once you get it, you can’t get it again. Once you get through it, you can wake up in the morning without dreading that first swallow.