My Corona

When I hear “don’t be scared of the Corona virus,” it calls to mind my sister Wendy and I, sitting in the dark when we were around eight and ten, watching the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. We were terrified. And now years later, I have no idea why. Or even what the movie was about. I Just remember we were scared. But if somebody, back then, were to say, “Don’t be scared” that would not have helped. It would not have helped then. Doesn’t help me now. 

Yesterday morning Maria and I are in the library checking books out that she needs for her teaching job. The woman behind the counter is wearing surgical gloves as she coughs into her hand and blows her news and hands us each book one by one. All while wearing the gloves. Should I be scared? Or even think about the very nice, well intentioned lady who didn’t get the purpose of the gloves? Telling me “don’t be scared” doesn’t help. So, what does help? What’s have I learned so far? What’s the story here? First is the message that we are all in this together. The virus is on every continent but Antarctica. It isn’t stopped by a wall or a travel ban. Second, Facts matter. Even when we factually don’t know much at all. So far, 3 people have been identified as infected in greater Chicago. 2 of the 3 have recovered. Third, credible leadership matters. It’s nice that we only have 3 people identified in Chicago. But put that in context. We also haven’t tested more than a tiny fraction of the population. Unlike South Korea and their drive to test what looks like everyone. Credible leadership means—like my friend Andy Schulkind wrote—not getting stuck in fear. It means planning. It means paying attention to experts. Trusting the scientists. What’s the vision, the unifying picture of hope that all of us citizen leaders can use to take us though all the unknown’s ahead? Perhaps it’s the “Stockdale Paradox.” The ability to hold two seemingly contradictory beliefs at once. What are those two beliefs? First, that we all have a common problem here. And second, that we will find our way to a common solution. We will find our way. Hope remains.

4 Responses to “My Corona”

  1. Paul Haider Says:

    Roger, the coronavirus has spread to Italy where my wife was born. We had to cancel the vacation planned for the end of the month when Elinor’s family would have joined us in Oviedo. Oh, well. Hopefully, the virus won’t be in Florida by the time when we arrive there in late May. By the way, the television commercial for CBS’s late night airing of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane scared me in 1981 without ever seeing the movie! There might have been a fear of Jane Byrne during the same period of time.😳 Take care. Paul

  2. macsmarvels Says:

    I have served as a beta site for a software company in China and thought they were in Beijing. Last month I had to reinstall some of their software due to some changes to my system and for the first time noticed the word ‘Wuhan’ in the company name. I contacted the right away and they are all safe, but quarantined at home.

    Yesterday I went to my local hospital for a scheduled exam and the first presumptive case in my state (Oregon) is quarantined there. It is unfortunate that the US currently has leadership as ignorant and incompetent as that of Iran. I don’t know if you are aware the a plane load of Americans was evacuated from Wuhan to California and the HHS sent uninformed and unprotected workers to set up their quarantine and then allowed those workers and some of the patients wander off into the wild.

    Come November everyone needs to remember who appointed the head of HHS and who confirmed that appointment. Ignorance and incompetence at the top is no longer a laughing matter it is deadly.

  3. Tom Dickinson Says:

    No one knows where this is going Rog, but good on you for throwing some good sense on troubled waters.

    Read up on the 1918-19 global pandemic. It hit, went dormant and declined for several months, then roared back like a plague of locusts and millions died…if this one behaves similarly, we ain’t seen nothing yet, Katie bar the door…God help those who take this with a wink and a shrug!

    Put on a pair of latex gloves and go choke that incredibly stupid librarian before she does real damage!

    Thanks for the calming words…


  4. Lisa Honecker Says:

    Here’s what I say. I love Chinese Food. Our Asian Delight restaurant in Bernardsville NJ is losing business because of this. That’s bullshit. I’m going on the Bernardsville blog to remind people there’s No Virus being spread since the chef buys most of his groceries at The Bernardsville ShopRite!!!!!

    Next, all these scientists will figure it out. Here’s the big thing: Especially for Men!!!

    Wash your hands with soap and water. If possible, stay out of Emergency Rooms

    Sing the happy birthday song to your selfish self not once but twice. All these restaurants that took away hot water in their faucets, you jackasses, turn it back on.

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