This has been a week of fundamental change. The number of people in the United States who have died from Covid-19 is over 30,000, and over 650,000 cases have been reported. In one way or another, it has touched every one of us, be it the death of a family member or friend, or word that someone we know has been diagnosed with it, or a job loss because of the necessary shutdown, and the overall uncertainty that life will never be the same. This is not just a passing moment; this is fundamental change, and reorienting our view of the world will come with it. Just as we refer to events in American history as pre-war and post-war keyed on World War II, or pre- or post-Depression, we will go forward from this time noting events in our life as pre- and post-Covid-19.
Just as you don’t know what’s going on outside when you’re trapped inside by a hurricane, the impact of this is hard to determine. How will we deal with our family, our neighbors, and ourselves once this has passed? Our politics, our economy, even our arts and culture will be different, and markedly so; indeed, they already are, and we have to accept the fact that we’re not going back to the way things were. The trauma is going to be more than just the physical impact; there will be aftershocks long after a vaccine is found and distributed.
Our nation and the world has survived war, famine, economic upheaval, and terrorism. And while we’re rapidly getting tired of being told that “we’re all in this together,” the way we’ve made it through in the past has been knowing we can without being told we can by TV spots. Each one of us has our coping mechanism, be it reading, writing, watching cat videos, meditation and prayer, or, as John Lennon said, whatever gets you through the night. And at some point, we’ll see what’s there when the sun comes out again.