COVID-19: It's by the definition a pandemic. It's loss of containment, loss of control, and it's spreading.
What I find strange in the news flowing through the mulitple channels is the variance of the mortality rate being reported on this virus. It makes one think there is more than one strain (mutation) at work here.
Case and point - acknowledging China's 3% published mortality rates, we are now seeing reports of up to 9% in certain regions within Italy. Is this due to a specific population? Are these souls lost because they fall within some high risk group or is it because of a change in the veracity of this contagion? I really hope my theory of multiple strains is way off base here...
Regardless, considering the nature of this virus I know there are far worse possibilities out there. I truly hope we all learn from this.
What I find most difficult here is the ethical tug-of-war we have to contend with in such situations. For example the following is a hypothetical that I'm sure is already playing out across the world at this very moment: 1). Your extended family, say your elderly parents, fall ill - expressing the symptoms of the virus - but the health teams are unable to test and confirm it is truly that virus because the testing capability is simply unavailable. 2). Do you step in to help (assuming of course you even have a choice), and possibly risk your immediate family, including your newly born son or daughter? Or do you remain at a distance and hope your loved ones fare through this on their own.
It's a vexatious dilemma, one in particular, that if you compared it to some other situation, you would consider the virus to be evil in nature. But nature is not evil is it? It just is.
Add to the scenario above, another situation, where you are the health care provider with limited resources (such as isolation rooms, ventilator equipment, and medicines (ie: diuretics to reduce fluid buildup in the lungs)). Due to the pandemic you simply do not have enough resources to contend with all the cases coming into the treatment center. You start making judgement calls - the younger are preferred treatment - the older are simply made as comfortable as possible. The problem is, as time passes, the sick keep coming, and it is up to you to perform more (and more) difficult decisions.
Mankind has contended with these situations throughout history, but this does not mean that you have direct experience with this. This leaves little comfort at best.
It's at times such as this that science and technology provide us little support, and we turn to our religions to help us.
In such times of suffering, when we are truly stripped down to our very essence, tested and stressed beyond limits that we could never have imagined, perhaps we are at our weakest. But I would propose at the same time we have also, desperately and determinedly, been able to find that internal well of strength - and we are also at our strongest.
So stay strong, keep a level head and do not lose it to fear, and when it begins to look futile do not lose hope.
Above all, cherish your humanity and help others where you can.