Say it out loud

Pandemic.  What a word.  Say it out loud.  “Pandemic.”  Something about saying it out loud makes it real.  I cannot quite wrap my head around the concept.  Hoarding toilet paper worldwide.  Bare grocery store shelves.  People with masks, bandanas, t-shirts, and other coverings over their faces.  Eye contact, though suspicious, is now our main means of connecting.  Shelter-in-Place orders from governors.  “Social distancing” — a new term for the dictionary next year.  Panic.  Anxiety.  Worry.  Depression.  Isolation.  Mental illness.  Unemployment.  Suicide.  Sickness.  Death.  Vulnerability.  Exposure.  Contact, or lack thereof.  Lack of contact.  Loss of humanity.  Finding humanity.  Restoration of humanity.  No church.  No gatherings.  No play.  No holidays.  No birthday parties.  No weddings.  No sports.  No school.  No contact.  No interaction.  Loneliness.  Fear.  Sensationalism by the media.  Casualties.  Statistics.  Projections.  Computer models.  Experts.  Medical professionals.  Scientists.  Vaccines.  Plasma transfusions.  Lockdowns.  Test swabs.  PPE.  Ventilators.  Negative pressure floors in hospitals.  Not enough ICU beds.  Moral trauma.  These are a few of the things that come to mind when I think about the pandemic we are going through right now.  A few more are coming to me, now.  Worldwide fasting and praying.  Making reusable masks for medical professionals with 3-D printers.  Telemedicine.  Distance and online learning.  Hand washing.  Sanitization.  Elbow bumps.  Covering your cough.  Mail-in ballots for the election this year.  National Guard mobilization.  Food bank shortages.  Donations.  Cancellation of all elective surgeries and routine doctor’s visits.  At-risk population.  Stay indoors.  Stay away.  Zoom.  Skype.  FaceTime.  FaceBook.  Social media.  Video conferencing.  The six-foot rule.  The ten-foot rule.  Takeout.  Federal stimulus package of 2.2 trillion dollars.  No airline flights.  Mandatory quarantine at state lines.  Home schooling.  Stress.  PTSD.  Ammunition shortages.  Increased gun sales.  Doctors.  Nurses.  Hospitals.  Psychotherapists.  Friends.  Family.  Respiratory infections.  Influenza.  Pneumonia.  Coronavirus.  Betacoronavirus.  COVID-19.  SARS-CoV-2.  MERS.  SARS.  Eating bats.  Mass graves.  Refrigerated semi-trailers lined up for makeshift morgues.  National warehouse supply.  State of Emergency.  FEMA.  WHO.  CDC.  Task Forces.  Laboratories.  Supply chain.  Blood shortages.  Testing.  Antibodies.  Immunity.  Nasopharyngeal swabs.  Reagents.  Anti-malarial drugs.  Azithromycin.  Shortages.  More shortages.  Essential businesses.  Non-essential businesses.  Working from home.  Online sales.  Furloughs.  Lay-offs.  Overdue bills.  Past-due rent and mortgage payments.  Governors’ Directives.  Crashing economies.  Recession.  Economic depression.  Last breath.  And the snowflakes falling peacefully outside on this cold mid-April morning…

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