It’s remarkable how human beings can adapt to almost any situation. The British call it “muddling through.” As an example, the British learned to muddle through, adapt and even thrive while being bombed by the Germans in 1940 during the Battle of Britain.
It’s interesting to see how Americans are adapting to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. It’s interesting to see that, even though the numbers now are worse than ever and getting worse every day, there are two things you don’t see as much of as we saw this past summer: denial on the part of some and panic on the part of others.
Let’s talk about denial first. There were a lot of people who were adamant that the virus was a hoax. While President Donald Trump didn’t actually say it was a hoax, it’s clear he didn’t take it seriously and seemed to think it was being used to make him look bad. As a result, a lot of his followers didn’t take it seriously.
While there are still those who claim it’s a hoax, the sheer numbers alone might well account for more Americans taking it seriously. As more Americans get the virus, the more their friends and relatives have to confront the reality of it.
I call it the “Uncle George Syndrome.” You don’t take a disease seriously until it affects someone you know, like your Uncle George or another family member. What caused many people to view those with HIV-AIDS with compassion was when people they knew and cared about caught the virus. It’s something of the same thing with the coronavirus.
As far as panic goes, you can at least now go into a store and reasonably expect to find them with toilet paper in stock.
One reason why there is not a lot of panic is because people better understand what the virus is and what to do about it. People have accepted the idea that social distancing and face masks are needed, even as some protest loudly about their rights being violated. They have learned to adapt and cope.
Who would’ve guessed a year ago that face masks would become a fashion statement? I’ve seen them with all kinds of colors and patterns. I recently picked up one with the Parker Broncs logo on it. I’ve seen them with flags, goofy faces, and silly sayings on them.
There are also a wide variety of masks out there. I found one at Circle K, of all places, that was the most comfortable I’ve found so far. It’s formed to fit over the nose and mouth, and the ear straps are adjustable. I don’t feel like my face is being squished in or my ears are being pulled off.
Americans have also learned to use humor to cope. I saw the comment that, now that people are listening to each other as they wear face masks, they can finally understand what Charlie Brown’s teachers are saying.
I’m even hearing coronavirus jokes. An example:
Q. What did one coronavirus say to the other coronavirus?
A. We’re infectious and we’re going viral.
As a bit of personal humor, I’ve found I can’t use a face mask as a disguise. All I have to do is open my mouth and everyone will know who it is (if you’ve ever heard me speak, you know what I’m talking about).
All kidding aside, it’s remarkable to see how people adapt and cope. Like the British and so many others who have coped with adversity before us, we’ll muddle through.
We’ll beat this nasty little bug together. We just all need to do our part.