Haims: We live in a great place — let’s not panic | VailDaily.com

Haims: We live in a great place — let’s not panic

Almost 30 years ago, when I was in my 20s, I left Los Angeles for Colorado. My primary justification for leaving was my waning belief in human nature. Vanity, avarice, and an “I come first” attitude became too much for me.

In Colorado, I found people that reminded me of people with whom I had grown up in L.A. I found people who were welcoming, willing to help others, and willing to have a conversation just for the sake of talking and being nice. Fortunately, more than 30 years later, I still find people here in our mountain towns with the same values, compassion, willingness to help others.

This past weekend while shopping at Costco, I witnessed an act of kindness and consideration I felt worthy of sharing. I was in the back of the store getting tissue when I saw a family with a flat cart stacked high with water, toilet paper, and tissue. I thought to myself how weird it is that fear of the coronavirus has caused people to panic to the point of stockpiling supplies like the apocalypse was imminent.

Nonetheless, walking next to me was an elderly man and his wife looking to get toilet paper and tissue. When they arrived at the empty spaces where these items had been, the gentleman turned to his wife and said, “I’m sorry honey, you were right. We should have come earlier.” 

The husband of the family who had stocked their cart high with supplies heard this too. He tapped the arm of the older gentleman and asked how much toilet paper and tissue had he and his wife needed. I did not hear the response from the older man and his wife, however, I did see the other gentleman take two packages of TP and tissue from his cart and place it in the older man’s cart.

Don’t panic

At a time where many people have become stressed from tanked markets, politics, the media, and an outbreak that threatens lives, we all need to remember that civility and kindness will go a long way to mitigate panic. 

Recently, I read somewhere that there is a catch-22 to all this uncertainty and fear. The more you allow yourself to become stressed and panicked, the more vulnerable you may be in fighting off antigens and susceptible to infection. When stress levels are elevated for longer periods of time, our immune system produces less white blood cells that help fight off infection.

It is important that we are mindful that coronavirus is not a death sentence. While the elderly and very young are more susceptible, the general public is less so. According to Monday’s data from Worldometer, an independent company with no political, governmental, or corporate affiliation, of the 111,753 cases of coronavirus worldwide, there have been 3,888 deaths. However, 62,722 people have recovered from being inflicted with coronavirus.

If an independent company does not offer you the creditability you feel comfortable with, perhaps Harvard Health and the World Health Organization might. According to an online article from Harvard Health, “signs suggest that many people may have had mild cases of the virus and recovered without special treatment.” Additionally, the article states that, “Right now it appears that the risk of very serious illness and death is less than it was for SARS and MERS. In terms of total deaths in the United States, influenza overwhelmingly causes more deaths today than COVID-19.”

As of Monday, WHO has identified 104 countries and territories affected with coronavirus. As of Monday, the 109,577 confirmed cases they show, there have been 3,809 deaths.  Do the math — that’s a lot of survivors. WHO also reports that, “about 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild. Most involve fever, cough and perhaps shortness of breath. People with mild cases are expected to recover without issue, and some may not be aware they’re ever sick.”

While people need to be cautious and mindful of exposure to the coronavirus, the need for panic should be put into perspective. Let’s not create panic.

If you need to stay home

For those concerned about exposure, or for those who may be ill and cannot leave their home, there are local services available that can assist with bringing supplies and groceries to your home.

  • Instacart.com is an online grocery delivery service company that works with local stores to deliver groceries to your door.
  • Ski Country Grocer is a locally-owned company that will do all your grocery shopping serving the entire Eagle and Roaring Fork Valleys.

We are not in an apocalyptic event. Please, let’s not contribute to mass panic. Rather, let’s go on about our daily business and take the usual seasonal precautions against infections.

Most importantly, let’s continue to be courteous and civil to each other. We all will fare better if we act rationally. Should you or your family become ill and quarantined, the duration may be under two weeks. Irrational stockpiling is not necessary and can perpetuate anxiety and panic.

As well, be mindful of our elder population who may be more vulnerable.  Please reach out to elderly neighbors and friends and ask what you can do to help.  It is quite possible that they may be concerned about becoming exposed and therefore refrain from shopping for the supplies they may need.

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