HOT TAKE: Coronavirus Panic

Obviously, the coronavirus has been on our minds, television screens, and social media feeds for weeks now, but this last week much has happened that has exponentially heightened the extent to which COVID-19 has been made part of our day-to-day lives.

The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic — indicating that the breadth of the spread of the disease warrants worldwide attention. It’s been 11 years since a pandemic was declared.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended their season after one of their players tested positive for COVID-19.

The NCAA canceled any remaining winter or spring championships.

Major League Baseball canceled spring training, and delayed opening day.

Health authorities are asking that we utilize “social distancing.” As a result, concerts and festivals — like South by Southwest in Austin or San Antonio’s Fiesta celebration — have been canceled.

Limitations have been placed on large gatherings in the states of Washington and California, and in cities in Texas such as Dallas and San Antonio.

President Trump addressed the nation, instituted a European travel ban, and declared a national emergency.

Governor Abbott declared a state of emergency in Texas.

In times like these it’s so easy for us to collectively panic and sit idly by. And while we absolutely should listen to and be informed by government officials who have data and information that will help us understand and learn about this virus — always, always remember that the government is a large unwieldy bureaucracy which wasn’t meant to, nor can act or react in efficient or personal ways.

And because of that, we should not demand that it “do something” that it cannot do, but rather step in as individuals and do what we can and are meant to do.

Texans — and Americans — have always been known to respond honorably during times of crisis. Whether it be a devastating hurricane like Harvey or an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, we come together to ensure everyone in our community has what they need.

This crisis, though different and foreign to us, should be treated in the same way — as an opportunity for us to serve one another.

We are each a member of some kind of community. Whether it’s our own neighborhood, or our own church or synagogue. Each of us who are healthy and not in the at-risk population should be stepping up and helping those in need.

I’m sure there are many elderly who are frightened to leave the safety of their home to go to the grocery store for needed supplies or medications.

Do you know someone who might be in need? Who might be scared or vulnerable? Have you checked on them? Have you checked with your pastor or rabbi to see if there are members of your own congregation that could use a helping hand?

Let’s not let this moment pass us by. Let’s step into the role God has given us, nay, requires of us. This is not a time for panic, but for compassion, servitude, and selflessness. Let us go forth and serve!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
— 2 Corinthians 1:3-4