Personal Pandemic Perspectives

Smiling while being safe unfortunately looks like fear to some. It is not.

Intro

Karla and I are trying to be intentional about learning and applying what we learn. Sharing this is for transparency (how we are thinking) and for the opportunity of adjusting (from hearing what others are thinking).

This is not a declaration about what others necessarily should also believe and do. Everyone has access to public information, and none of us have access to anyone else’s full range of private concerns and priorities.

What we understand about the pandemic

Epidemics, which sometimes spread to become pandemics, have been around throughout human history. Covid19 is the latest threat. It will almost certainly not be the last.

The virus does not move on its own. People carry the virus, and people share the virus with others. The virus’s range of power to impact is determined by how people help it spread or hinder opportunities for it to spread.

The more the spread of the virus is slowed, the more our medical systems can treat those affected by the virus. If too many people are infected too quickly hospitals become overwhelmed and people who would have lived end up dying. This includes an increase in sickness and death among healthcare workers who are made more vulnerable by the overflow of infectious patients.

What we are trying to do now

Karla and I are committed to limiting our contact with other people in order to slow the virus’s opportunities to spread rapidly. We believe that the more restrained we are, the more we help the situation.

Why?

Slowing the spread of the virus is good for our health, but also for the health of others. Not only do we not want to increase the risk of others getting this, but we also do not want to increase the spread of the virus that multiplies rapidly and subsequently endangers our hospital systems. This is why we are trying to be as careful as we can be.

How?

Karla and I have decided to stay home. That means Karla’s pet care business has stopped. Even though that means losing money, and meaningful interactions, we believe the value of fighting the spread of this virus is worth that sacrifice.

We do not get together with other people. That includes neighbors, friends, and even family. Being comfortable with people makes exactly zero difference to a virus. Because the virus has been shown to be spread by people who do not show any symptoms, there is currently no way to know who is a carrier right now.

There is a wide range of caution used by different people. Essential workers do the best they can with protective gear and with washing frequently. They cannot just stay at home like we are doing.

Some people have responsibilities to care for others that lead them to believe that taking some risks by interacting with others is worth it. Karla and I are very aware that we cannot know everything that goes into people’s decisions for how much interaction they have, and we, therefore, refrain from presuming to know what others should do. We give the benefit of the doubt and hope that others do that toward us.

The fact that people have very different degrees of caution/risk in how much they interact with others makes it all the more difficult for us to consider exceptions for getting together with family. Almost everyone will say they are being safe. What each person understands as safe is often very different.

Again, we do not presume to critique others’ decisions, but we do decide to refrain from making exceptions largely because it is almost impossible to know how interactive others really are.

How long?

We made the decision to isolate at home prior to a government order. Our decision was made based on the most consistent medical information coming from experts in epidemiology. Those experts will continue to be our guide. Politicians have their role, as do cultural influences like news personalities, etc. However, we will continue to focus on what people who have given their lives to helping understand and fight against diseases like this are saying.

Conclusion

Whether anyone else reads this or not, writing this out has been helpful for Karla and me. We want to know why we are doing what we are doing and why we do not need to feel compelled to try and reconcile our choices with everyone else’s.

We share this because we value being connected with others, both in sharing our thoughts and in receiving thoughts others share with us.

If you have any questions about our approach, or if you want to share your approach, we would be encouraged. We each will have a range of choices about how we go about responding to this pandemic, but we are all unified in our struggle against the virus.

With faith, hope, and love-

Russell & Karla Minick

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