For most of the last decade, I’ve been writing about investing, finances, and retirement.
So with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic and the growing economic downturn, you’d think I’d have a lot to write about. The stock market has plummeted, hotels are empty, bars and restaurants are closing, and airplanes are grounded.
The historic 11-year bull market has come to an end and we’re squarely in a bear market. Unfortunately, there’s growing consensus that we’re headed for a recession. So there’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on the economy.
But as serious as this financial crisis is, it pales in comparison to the humanitarian crisis that is COVID-19. And just like other crises, this pandemic will bring out the best and the worst in us.
Just yesterday, I read about price gougers preying on people by hoarding large amounts of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, over-the-counter medicines and other important items. They buy these products up and resale them at an astronomical mark up.
It’s shameful predatory behavior.
As infuriating as stories like these are, I know that there is far more good in humankind than there is bad. I’m reminded of the story of Lifting Kathy.
Kathy is an electric wheelchair bound Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who deteriorated to the point to which she could no longer get herself in bed at night. Living alone, Kathy was faced with the gut wrenching decision to sell her home and relocate to a nursing home facility.
Hearing of this, her neighbors rallied to her side. Up to sixty of the neighborhood men agreed to come to her house, two at a time, and lift her out of her wheelchair and put her into bed. It’s a twenty to thirty minute shared commitment. And it goes on 365 days a year for the last ten years.
These are beautiful, loving people and their selflessness represents the best of humanity that is in us all. So how do we tap into that goodness in these dark days of the coronavirus pandemic?
Here is my list of four things we can all do to help us get through this pandemic.
- Keep yourself informed
Knowledge is power, so be sure to follow the CDC’s reporting on COVID-19. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and stay home as much as you can. If you have to go out, make it brief and keep your distance from others.
While information is vital, partisanship is toxic. Avoid watching hours and hours of cable news.
If anything, this pandemic should remind us that we aren’t Democrats and Republicans, we’re Americans. We need to care for each other and not devolve into partisan pettiness.
Unfortunately, many of today’s news sources come with a partisan bent that operates under a business model that profits from adding fuel to the divisive partisan fire. Don’t fall for it.
- Physically Isolate / Practice Social Distancing
The epidemiologists who are studying the coronavirus pandemic have determined that the elderly and the chronically ill are the ones that will be hit hardest by this virus. So if that’s the case, why can’t the kids go to school and young adults enjoy a social nightlife that includes bar hopping, clubbing, and mass gatherings?
Unfortunately, it’s been determined that the young and healthy can act as a repository for the illness and pass it to the more vulnerable populations. So the bottom line is that if we don’t practice the recommendations put in front of us, more people will suffer and more people will die.
We all have to make sacrifices and step up. So if you’re fortunate enough to be able to work from home, then please do so. Stay at home as much as you can. If you have to go out, keep your distance from others. Don’t go to the hospital unless you have to. Don’t go to nursing homes. Try to physically stay away from the sick and elderly as much as possible. This includes your elderly friends and family members.
- Don’t Mentally or Emotionally Isolate
Keeping a physical distance from others is a shared sacrifice we all must try to comply with. However, this doesn’t mean we should isolate from others mentally or emotionally.
With telephones, Skype, FaceTime, Instagram, FaceBook and others this is the best time in history to be able to connect with others virtually. So call your loved ones and call your friends. Check in on your neighbors, especially if they’re elderly.
If you have to leave the house to get something, ask them if you can pick something up for them. Let people know you love and care for them by both word and deed.
And don’t forget that social distancing, isolation, and quarantine can be lonely. Some people handle that loneliness better than others. Don’t assume that others are alright. Reach out to them and support them.
And for anyone that is contemplating suicide, don’t forget that there is help. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. We are all better together, so please get the help you need.
- Be Grateful
This pandemic has already caused severe hardship and more is coming. As bad as it may be for you, there are typically people out there that have it worse.
As a former healthcare worker, I’m particularly grateful for those on the frontline. Healthcare workers are putting their own lives at risk to help the sick. Doctors have died in other countries and there are already reports of doctors, nurses, and EMS personnel contracting this virus.
So if you’re on the frontlines doing something so important that you can’t stay at home, I say thank you. This applies, not only to doctors and nurses, but to clerks, technicians, janitorial staff, security guards, police, fire, paramedics, military, and so many more.
They’re putting their life on the line to help us. They’re also putting their family at risk doing it. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. So don’t forget them in your thoughts and prayers as you go about your day.
Let’s be good to one another and never forget that we’re in this together. We will get through this coronavirus pandemic. Stay well!