It’s difficult not to think about COVID-19 right now. Life is changing for us, and even though that change is only temporary it’s potentially huge. Kids are out of school, people are working from home (where they can), and we’re concerned about the supply chain. Since we don’t have a time machine to undo all this, I hope we at least use this crisis to learn a little.
1. Disaster Preparedness – I’ve heard plenty of PSA’s about disaster preparedness over the last few years. I always think it’s a great idea, but it leaves my mind soon afterwards. We can come up with all sorts of excuses (finances, time, storage space), but the reality is that we need to be ready in case something happens. Take this time to evaluate your emergency kit to make sure you and your family (and pets!) will be taken care of. No, you might not be able to stock up on much right now, but you can certainly make a list.
2. Working from Home – There are far more companies who offer flexible schedules and work from home opportunities than there used to be, but I hope this time will show both employers and employees how much they can get done remotely. This could be extremely beneficial for all concerned, especially those with families. Which also brings to mind…
3. Corporate and School Sick Policy – All of a sudden it’s okay to call in at work, but we all know it wasn’t like that. You had to be on death’s door to call in. The company needed you, and they’d much rather you come in and spread your germs to customers and other employees than stay home in bed. Schools weren’t any better, offering perfect attendance contests and prizes that had ill children determined to get to school. Yes, there’s always a concern of people abusing the system, but we need to be a little smarter. Wash your hands and stay home when you’re sick, no matter if we’re worried about a pandemic or not!
4. Believing Everything You Read Online (and then sharing it!) – Right as the U.S. started to fear COVID-19, a Facebook post showing the back of a Lysol container began circulating. It had coronavirus circled on the back and claimed this disease was nothing new. When I saw it, I immediately went to the CDC’s website to check it out for myself. I think we all know the truth now (that COVID-19 is within a larger family of coronaviruses), but now misinformation in general continues to spread. This makes it impossible to know what to believe. I’m not just talking about social media here, either. If your news comes from a site that’s obviously slanted toward a religion or political party, then it’s biased.
5. We’re Not Superman – Here in the U.S., it’s easy to believe we aren’t vulnerable. We’ve been on top for a long time. We have good lives, especially compared to many other places in the world. But we’ve come to rely on those good times of abundance to such an extent that many people don’t know how to deal with the threat of it breaking down. I really think we need to evaluate our vulnerability and see what we could do to improve it.
I’m definitely not saying the pandemic is a good thing, but if we have to deal with it then we might as well learn. Some of these ‘extreme’ measures we’re putting into place might give us great benefits by becoming the norm, and if we don’t learn our lesson then we’re doomed to repeat it.
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My most recent short story, Immunization, is available free for a limited time on Amazon!
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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.