John O’Connor

There is no need to sugarcoat the rampant destruction we are now seeing, thanks to something most of us knew nothing about until recently. I’m referring of course to the novel coronavirus.

 As this is being written, more cases are being discovered by the hour. We are now officially in a pandemic. Yeah, it’s pretty bad.

 Our residents suddenly face a heightened risk for illness and/or death. Our financial markets are in a nosedive. Many schools and universities are temporarily closing. Even our beloved sporting events are being put on hold. The list goes on.

Then there’s what we know about the virus: It spreads awfully easily, can be remarkably resilient, and is more than a little unpredictable.

Perhaps even more frightening is what we don’t know. Will it fade as the weather warms? Will it cause permanent lung damage or compromise other organs? Could mental function be compromised by an infection? Will our economy slide into a recession, or worse? Who knows?

So lest anyone accuse me of cheerleading for Team Oblivious, I am fully aware of how serious this public health challenge is, and that we are not exactly out of the proverbial forest.

To be clear, we need to give the coronavirus outbreak all the attention, respect and common sense it deserves. That includes following medical — and avoiding activities/behaviors that might make things worse.

For example, if you find yourself coughing, this might not be the best time to tough it out and trudge to work. Stay home, please.

Wash your hands. Disinfect any areas where you will be to the extent possible, especially hard surfaces. Listen to what the experts advise.

But here’s the thing: As bad as this is — and it’s plenty bad — it will not last forever. Sooner or later, we will find a way to treat the coronavirus — or at least get it under control. Why do I believe that? Because that is what we have always done.

Also, keep in mind that we are jointly experiencing is not the new normal. It’s a blip.  Better days are coming. You can take that to the bank.

Yes, we have our work cut out. But as the wise old saying reminds us, this too shall pass.

 John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s.