James Middlebrook

The world is railing from the outbreak of COVID-19. As the numbers of this pandemic continue to increase in the United States, we are faced with harsh realities and difficult months ahead. Mentally preparing ourselves now for the upcoming challenges will help us handle the impacts of the coronavirus, that include: limiting individual exposure; making plans in case we or loved ones are exposed or diagnosed; and, keeping realistic about the size and scope of the pandemic.

Acceptance is the first step. Currently, Congress’ in-house doctor is predicting 70-150 million Americans will contract COVID-19. That’s roughly 1 in 3 Americans. Friends, family, celebrities, and others are not exceptions to the projected infections. It’s likely someone you know or have heard of will test positive, and the vast majority will recover without being hospitalized. To be best prepared, formulate a plan to care for yourself and loved ones in the event they become ill.

Americans are being asked to participate in “social distancing” to help slow the outbreak but it won’t zero it. Cases can be contagious yet asymptomatic for up to two weeks so closing schools, bars, restaurants, gyms, and other social spots are necessary to slow the outbreak. We need to be ready for the numbers to sky rocket, despite social isolation. The impending uptick in diagnoses is not indicative of social distancing failure, but rather, increased testing exposing existing hidden cases. Although these massive changes to our daily lives will challenge our patience, it’s crucial to understand our efforts aren’t in vain, even when we hear of increased cases due to wider testing.

We are in this together and taking these measures for our well-beings is important. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to prepare ourselves for a life altering months-long process. There are no shortcuts to fight a pandemic. It will be extensive grueling work, but Americans are strong and will prevail. Accepting the hardships ahead and understanding this is the new reality for the foreseeable future will help ease the emotional strain we are all facing.

This blog is part of a broader social commentary series focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic.
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