Over the past few weeks, coronavirus has evolved from a distant threat into something that seems inescapable. Our notifications are full of the words “COVID-19” and “pandemic.” Our feeds are full of horrifying stories and frightening numbers. There is no toilet paper to be found.
As an epidemiology junkie, I’ve been following the news since COVID-19 was first announced, just I’ve done for every epidemic of the past two decades. This time, the disease has reached pandemic levels, and I’ve quickly realized that people are very resistant to this idea.
I’ve been facing an odd mix of deniers who are convinced that it’s all a cash grab and doomsayers who hoard all the toilet paper. The rest of us don’t know what to do, say, or think. We want to make things better, to hold onto our normal lives, but we also don’t want to get the virus — or spread it on to someone else.
The apocalypse has arrived. Whether or not it’s justified, the world will never again be the same.
Those of us who aren’t outright denying the pandemic’s threat will be afraid to touch strangers or travel to new places. The deniers will chant “I told you so” when our social distancing efforts pay off in a few months or so. The doomsayers will bleakly emerge from their bunkers and wonder why the world didn’t end.
Or, they’ll point out that it did.
The Coronapocalypse, as Twitter is calling it, is happening. And just like in our favorite Hollywood movies, we’re seeing the dark side of humanity. The arrogance. The selfishness. The stupidity.
These are the rules of any apocalypse.
Rule #1: People blame the media
It never ceases to amaze me how many people think of “The Media” as a monolithic group of nameless advertisers, shamelessly plugging for ad views. It’s as though none of them imagine that they know anyone in “the media.” That those people might be scared too.
As the daughter of journalists, I may be biased. But I have hundreds of friends and colleagues in the media, and I can tell you that none of them are excited about COVID-19. They’re not here to profit off tragedy. They’re simply geeks for the truth.