COVID-19 in My Tiny Part of the World · 21 March 2020

Map of the COVID-19 outbreak per capita
as of 17 March 2020

by Raphaƫl Dunant
(Alteration: size changed)
Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc on society around the world. Even in my tiny corner of the globe.

I am averse to the news. At least for the most part. Especially today in the era of fake news. How do we know who and what to believe? What are our sources of truth? Does anybody really know what is going on? These questions are real, but they are not why I am averse to news. I do not like the news because it is all bad. Or at least seemingly so.

When the COVID-19 news started, I was not all that interested. It was something that happened in China, but it would not affect me. At least not in a big way. When COVID-19 first started hitting in the states, I wondered what the big deal was. Two cases in Washington. Not a big deal. Then, we had the first death. A bigger deal, but it did not seem like the plague. But the more the virus was in the news, the less I could ignore it.

Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, COVID-19 was right in my face. First, our church closed. Then, our schools closed. I was and am still flabbergasted. But I get it. The more I understood about the virus, the more I realized that while the mortality rate was alarming, the bigger problem was the rate at which the disease was spreading. Something had to be done to slow the progress of what is now being called a pandemic. And that something was closing seemingly everything.

Policy makers were realizing that the spread of the disease was going to take its toll on the health care system. Especially, when they saw what was happening in Italy. There are not enough beds to take care of the sick. Not just those sick with COVID-19. Anybody who is sick enough to need to be in the hospital.

I could not deny the news. I could not hide my head in the sand. COVID-19 was going to affect my little corner of the world. And in a big way.

It must have been an excruciating call to limit gatherings and close schools and even businesses. There would surely be repercussions in the economy and disruptions to lives, but how much more would there be if those actions were not enacted? I did not want schools to close at first. After all, schools are safe places for students. For some, the safest place they can be. There is shelter, comfort, and routine. Not to mention learning. I cannot imagine going through the thought process of weighing those needs of our students against the needs of society as a whole. Just as I cannot imagine our society without enough hospital beds to care for those who are in dire need of care. Like I said, it must have been an excruciating process to make that call.

The more I know about what is happening with the pandemic, the more I find myself praying. I pray for those who have been hardest hit by COVID-19. Those who are sickest, those who have had loved ones perish, those who are sick but cannot get the medical help they need, those who are most at risk, those who are afraid. I pray for the health care workers who are working beyond their capacity to catch up to the needs of the people. I pray for the leaders and policy makers who must make difficult choices that affect us all. And I pray for us all that we might have wisdom and compassion in this dark and difficult time.

I am still not a news junky. And I will still not get too wrapped up in even the biggest news. But this I know. Every once in a while, I need to pay attention to what is going on around the world. For every once in a while something big (like COVID-19) comes around that affects even my tiny corner of the globe.

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

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