We are all hunkered down in place, or should be, over this egregious pandemic called “COVID-19.”
It has brought the entire world to its knees. Those of us who are not sick are being asked to tread water in place for at least the next three weeks.
We hear lots of clamoring and fear about there not having enough testing and the mortality rates.
According to the CDC and NIH, America so far has tested more than any other country. Even though we lead the world with test results, we also lead most of the world in the least percentage of fatalities per positive tests. This is a testament to our active task force and medical system. Yet, we are very well aware of America’s virulent “hotspots” - they skew the model.
My colleagues at the University of Georgia are conducting classes online to finish the semester.
UGA’s May 8th, 2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement ceremonies have been canceled. I will not be appearing on the UGA campus this spring as usual to lecture on Public Communications and personal success strategies. Something my graduate students could use right now, I would suspect. But, here I am, locked down in the bucolic environs of the Lowcountry, seemingly impenetrable to a pandemic. But I’m not fooling myself. It’s here, just outside my door.
So, what do I do about it? Not complain. Use my quiet time to some advantage. Apply due diligence as is mandated by the state and by the federal government of course. But all of this solitude has me thinking.
What will this place - this America - look like at the end of all this? What will we inherit from this pandemic at the end of the dark tunnel? What will it look like when we finally crack the front door open and take a peek out into the sunlight once again?
Me? I’m a die-hard optimist. I always start my lectures by writing on the board, “The glass is 3/4 full, not half empty.” So, I got to thinking, “What do we inherit from all this?” I believe that America will be a better place in so many respects. How? Glad you asked.
FIRST: There will be a new emphasis on what the workplace will look like. Millions of people are now forced to work at home. This new phenomenon, I believe, will last incrementally and carry on into the new light. More and more people will be encouraged to stay at home and to work with daily goals that are set by their companies and corporations on a large scale. Millions will be giving up commuting. This is a wonderful thing - and not just for keeping gas at rock bottom prices.
Traveling 1-1/2 hours just to go 15 miles back and forth each way to work into a big city will be proven archaic and counterproductive. That’s 3 hours a day of wasted human resources. Bosses will set goals - short term, medium, and long-term. And employees will reach those goals at home on their own schedule, with their own laptops, and computers. That’s exactly what they are all doing right now in lock down. Every 10 days office workers can gather as a group in person somewhere, go home, and repeat the process. Efficient, productive, and mentally stable. The roads will be clear by at least 40 percent.
SECOND: Millions of American parents are becoming a hell of a lot smarter because they’re homeschooling themselves along with their children and will suffer no long-term ill effects because of it.
They will finally experience the pleasure of understanding just how new math works - or maybe not.
There are other subjects to be taught however. Homeschooling kids for two months or more has re-educated most parents with “fundamental knowledge” that somehow had escaped them over the course of these many years. “Way to go, Mom! Great job, Dad!”
THIRD: More heightened awareness as to personal hygiene and how that affects us and others. We were admonished as kids by our moms, “You go wash your hands before you come to dinner!” As we grew, we forgot. We don’t forget now, do we? This motherly demand echoes in our heads and will linger well into the future.
FOURTH: A new national policy of reserve stockpiling of critical medical equipment, oil reserves,medications, vaccines, and emergency protocols will all result - along with the fact that our local grocery store will now keep 300 tons of toilet paper out back, in storage.
FIFTH: We will become less reliant on all things coming out of New York City, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. For decades, America has been “educated” by these three that “rule” this country. Well, not anymore. As we bloom like a flower in the coming months, these three high density areas will be the last to show their petals. Thus, the term, “flyover,” will have no future meaning. American values of the heartland will push past this pandemic first. More churches, more religious services, larger congregations, more family gatherings, more community activities, more camaraderie, more local parades, and more “neighborliness.” All these things will be the residual of COVID-19.
In our various stages of either being in lock down or in quarantine, we are already seeing these things slowly emerge. Will we be hugging again? Yes, of course - sooner or later. Will we be shaking hands again? Yes, of course sooner or later. Will we become whole again? Yes, sooner or later - except perhaps in the Halls of Congress.
“The glass is 3/4 full, not half empty,” my friends.
Have a nice day, and don’t forget to wash your hands before you come to dinner.
Pisano is a Ford Plantation resident.