We’ve reached the 15-day mark of our first planned national confinement here in France. They’ve extended it officially to mid-April. It’s too soon to tell if these measures are flattening the curve. It’s a shame (some would say criminal) that our leaders in the West did not take this seriously until we were seeing numbers in the thousands. But the pervasive thought early on, at least here in Europe, was that China seemed to be getting it under control. True, China appears to have had flattened its curve by February. Europe simply figured it was an Asian problem.
Now we know how connected we truly are.
Before you complain about the U.S. government, you should know that it’s not much better here. Even as cases were showing up in Italy, officials there were encouraging people to go out for an aperitif. President Macron, in France, told us it was okay to go about our normal lives, despite the fact that Italy had begun enacting regional quarantines. Two weeks later we would join Italy in a national shutdown.
It’s always someone else’s problem until it’s your own.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that your neighbor’s problem is your problem. Hardship knows no boundaries, no race, no religion, no culture. It can come to rich or poor, young or old, native or immigrant. We are only as strong as our weakest community. Had we looked to China or South Korea as an extension of ourselves, we might have followed suit when they took their measures, learned from them and got ahead of the problem. And we’d possibly be on our way to flattening our curve by now, and saving lives.
What will it take before we open our eyes and see how small the world really is? How close we are? How much we belong to one another? We are all related by virtue of a shared planet. We survive and thrive not only by joining forces, but by joining hearts and minds.
Tip of the day
Spend 10 minutes today thinking about other people in your community. Is there anyone who might need a call, a word of comfort? Are there any people in need of supplies—paper products, canned goods? Thinking of others helps us get out of our own heads. And that can lead to a sense of peace and goodwill. We could all use some of that right now.