What word is defined as "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain?" I'll give you a little time to figure this one out. OK ... if you came up with the word "fear," give yourself a gold star! Our conversation today is an expansion of a person-to-person chat I had with my wife, Paula, late one night about a week ago.
We were discussing how much fear had been generated by the Covid-19 coronovirus as it spread worldwide. We wondered out loud how most of the earth's population had learned to fear this unseen enemy. It's hard to imagine that people of all nationalities were feeling the same "distressing emotion aroused by impending danger." I can understand how an individual could find himself or herself — or even a relatively small group of people — living in fear of a virus while the rest of the world carried on with their "normal" lifestyle. But this kind of worldwide infection is hard to imagine.
Do you remember the outbreak of what we eventually referred to as Legionnaire's Disease? It concerned lots of people.
Initially, the mysterious disease sickened 180 people and killed 29 others who were attending an American Legion convention at a hotel in Philadelphia. Six months later, researchers had pinpointed the bacteria (not a virus) that caused the disease and named it Legionella pneumophila.
Every year since then about 5,000 people get sick with this serious illness. It's a form of pneumonia and can be treated with different types of antibiotics. If there can be anything "good" about a potentially deadly disease like Legionnaire's, it is not contagious.
If only the current pandemic involved a bacterium and not a virus.
And if only we could get more solid information about how to go about living our lives. Nobody seems to agree on anything other than washing our hands, staying away from sick people, and practicing good social distancing.
The economy is in a state of flux and the federal government says its up to the governors of individual states to decide when it's safe to reopen businesses.
And when it comes to wearing masks, no one seems to know what to do.
I sat in the parking lot of a grocery store recently watching to see how many patrons wore masks. About 60 percent used their face mask. But are they wearing masks to protect themselves from catching a stray virus from some one ... or are they wearing masks to keep others from catching the virus from them?
I think a growing number of folks are increasingly tired of home quarantines and are fast approaching the point of pulling off the masks when they are out in public. With Gov. Kay Ivey allowing more businesses to reopen, it's going to be interesting to see how many businesses take the governor up on her decision and how many will wait longer to open up.
It's spooky to see so many stores closed. On the other hand, there are lots of restaurants that have cars wrapped around the building for service at the drive-through windows.
I recently talked with a friend who does business with a popular fast food chain. He confirmed that before Covid-19 those eateries were doing about 70 percent of their business through the drive-through windows ... now it's 100 percent.
There are a lot of people — especially seniors — who are riding out the pandemic at home. They are not taking any chances with having any unnecessary contact with an infected person. Because I'm well into my "senior" years, I'm one of those who's waiting for a proven treatment and eventually a vaccine. And yes, I do stop in occasionally at the drive-through with the rest of the folks who are tired of eating out of cans in the pantry at home.
Here's hoping things get better soon ... and stay that way ...where we can look back on this terrible time the same way we would when waking from a bad dream. If only it were just a nightmare — and not real — for people suffering all around the globe.
Hang in there friends, we'll get through this — together.