The world as we know it has changed. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has disrupted everything. People are staying home and are being urged to practice social distancing. Factories have shut down. Retail has shut down. Restaurants only offer drive-through or curbside pick up. People are scared to go shopping yet are persevering to purchase food, medicine and other essential items needed for their everyday lives, including the much sought after toilet paper.
Not since Sept. 11, 2001 have we seen such a dramatic upheaval in our everyday lives, our physical well being and our mental stability. I remember those days, weeks and months after that September morning when there was such uncertainty and uneasiness in our country. There were daily reports with pictures and personal accounts of people who had died. We saw the numbers, we saw the names, we saw the faces.
We were unsure who the enemy that attacked us was. We didn't know if or when another attack would happen. We didn't know if our troops were going to war and if they would come back home. We didn't know.
We are in a situation now where we just don't know. We don't know how many more people will get sick or how many might die from COVID-19. We don't know the long-term severity of the disease or if we are doing enough in controlling it. We don't know if we are taking unnecessary measures in controlling it. We don't know when the quarantine will end. We don't know when we will be able to go back to our jobs or if our finances can take any longer without a paycheck or reduced paycheck. We don't know if the economy will recover from an almost complete shutdown of retail and industry. We don't know when our lives will go back to normal and when we will be able to freely visit friends and family. We don't know when we will be able to eat in a restaurant, visit a boutique or go to a movie. We don't know when students will return to school or when we will be able to worship freely in our churches again. We just don't know.
Situations we cannot control are always hard and this one is no exception. The uncertainty has made many of us uneasy. We are scared. We are nervous. We are angry. We just do not know what to do but we will persevere. As the adage goes, this too shall pass.
Many people will come out of this stronger, some will be smarter and some will be more self-sufficient. All will be different. Whether the pandemic is as bad as we think or not, the fact is fear has changed us - just as it did in 2001 - and we will never be the same again.