Wendy Kalman
There are many ways to see and understand

When the new normal is incredibly abnormal

Public Domain: CDC.gov

It is the end of March and in the US, there are still grossly inadequate number of testing kits available. Medical personnel still don’t have protective gear. Hospitals still don’t have ventilators on reserve. State and national leaders aren’t preparing for how much worse this will get. So few are putting in place any kind of lock down rules. So few are converting spaces to makeshift hospitals. So few are promoting the idea that everyone ought to behave as if he or she as well as everyone else and every surface has the virus. People have yet to understand that the unleashing of asymptomatic carriers means that everyone has to be that careful. It feels like a nightmare.

The numbers climb drastically every day and it will get worse as hospitals become overwhelmed and hospital personnel become sick themselves. While different manufacturers are amping up production of gear and test kits and testing different possible treatments, it is still a while until there will be a vaccine. More relevantly, it is difficult to imagine the country will be flooded enough with what it needs for numbers to reverse trend or just stay still anytime soon.

If leaders cannot see how COVID-19 will decimate parts if not all of the country, then it is up to citizens to do that. To stay home. To understand that asymptomatic carriers are infecting others. To stop the spread.

This weekend I put together a website showing famous people who have gotten sick from COVID-19. Some have died. Part of the rationale is that visitors could read how some of these were tested because they thought there was a chance they were exposed, but had no symptoms. Others because they had mild symptoms. Unlike these people, everyday Americans won’t be tested at this early stage, due to stricter guidelines in a world where tests are scarce.

The site says in large capital letters, “THEY GOT IT. SO COULD YOU.” I didn’t make the site so that “regular” folks would get upset at these notables getting special treatment, but because I hoped that they might understand that what the celebs do next – self-quarantine or isolate – is something everyone ought to be doing now. Celebs who have COVID-19 are sitting at home and not infecting others. They are slowing the spread.

If the rest of us don’t know if we are sick, then we too must do the same. When we stay home, we can watch for symptoms, and if we do have COVID-19, we can slow the spread too. This is important because our hospitals will not be able to handle the influx. Especially as their staff becomes sick themselves. And that will sadly happen. In this abnormal world of inadequate protective gear and testing, it is inevitable.

I try to see what the world will look like after the virus passes, and it is not a pretty picture. It will be a rare thing for someone to not know someone who got sick, was hospitalized, died. Who wants that kind of new normal? I surely don’t.

Please, everyone, stay home.

About the Author
Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Wendy lived in Jerusalem for over a decade submerged in Israeli culture. Since returning to the U.S. in 2003; she has been soaked in Southern life in metro Atlanta. An Ashkenazi mom to Mizrahi sons born in Israel and the US, MIL to a French Mizrahi DIL and an Israeli DIL whose parents are also an interesting mix, and a step mom to sons born in the South, she celebrates trying to see from multiple perspectives and hope this comes out in her blogs. Wendy recently wrapped up work as a researcher for an Israel education nonprofit and completed two master's degrees in public administration and integrated global communication, and is looking for her next opportunity. Her interest in resolving conflict had her also taking a grad school class on conflict management and completing certification as a human rights consultant, Wendy's interests also have her digging deep into genealogy and bringing distant family together. All of this is to say, Wendy's life has brought her to the widened framework she uses for her blogs: there are many ways to see and understand.
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