If you’ve followed my writing, you know that I care deeply about truth. I’m decidedly a ‘fact fan-boy,’ and I do not countenance liars, fools, or propagandists. I may not agree with you, but if you speak the truth, you will always have my respect.

In these days of COVID-19, it seems that anyone with an Internet connection, a keyboard, and virtually no recall of their high school biology class, is instantly an ‘armchair epidemiologist’ openly questioning and criticizing the experts at the CDC, NIH, and WHO. Countless numbers of these ‘Internet infectologists’ are posting articles, blogs, and videos birthed in the minds of conspiracy theorists, anarchists, white supremacists, and foreign enemies of our country. Our friends and neighbors consume, share, and repost this gibberish and cause otherwise lawful, rational citizens to eschew the guidance of the experts in favor of advice from a guy named Gavin writing on an old PC in his basement.

As if that weren’t bad enough, we can’t even rely on people in the White House to shoot us straight on how we can protect ourselves from this deadly pathogen. The daily diet of conflicting advice, unhinged tweets, and bald-faced lies contribute to Americans seeking out these ‘alternative’ viewpoints to fill the leadership void in Washington.

As a public service, I thought I would jot down a handful of useful tidbits to keep in mind as we navigate this pandemic and strive to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy.

  1. You can rely on the information from the CDC, NIH, and WHO. They may not always agree on every jot and tittle, but the major and minor themes are the same and eminently reliable. It’s just science.
  2. COVID-19 is more contagious and more deadly than seasonal influenza. Anyone who tells you otherwise likely has an agenda that is probably not aligned with your interests.
  3. Social distancing and wearing a mask in public are literally the least you can do to keep yourself, your family, and your neighbors safe. If you are railing against these things, you should check your motivations. Let’s all do the right thing.
  4. If you lost your job due to the shutdown of large swaths of the economy, that is a terrible thing. But unemployment is temporary; death is permanent. No one’s economic concerns are more important than human life.
  5. The aid from the federal government is YOUR MONEY. It’s not a handout, and it’s not socialism. You should be demanding that the government suspend mortgage payments, rent payments, utility payments, student loan payments, etc. until the economy is open again. If the big corporations deserve relief, so do the people who buy their products and services.
  6. The previous administration had a plan to battle a pandemic, assembled a national stockpile of equipment, PPE, and medications, and had a team of experts at the White House whose job was to coordinate the federal response in the event something like COVID-19 came to our shores. The current administration dismantled the team, defunded the response capability, and failed to enact the plan.
  7. COVID-19 will not ‘miraculously disappear.’ It will be part of the pathogenic landscape until we reach herd immunity (83-94% of the population with active antibodies for COVID-19), or we have an effective vaccine available on demand. But even with a vaccine, COVID-19 or a mutated variant will pop up year after year just like the seasonal flu. It will return this fall, and unless we have widespread testing and contact tracing in every county in America, it will likely flare up and spread just like it is doing now.
  8. The economy is not going to experience a rapid recovery. Consumer spending drives the US economy. Even after the 20-30% unemployment subsides, it will take months if not years for those affected to return to pre-pandemic levels of spending. The economic shutdown has decimated small businesses, and they employ almost 48% of the US workforce. Many small businesses will go bankrupt or simply close due to the pandemic. It will take years for those jobs to come back, if ever.
  9. Every American family should take a lesson from this crisis: you need to do everything in your power to accumulate savings equal to 6-months of regular expenses. The long-term effects of any economic crisis are significantly mitigated by having enough resources to weather the storm. 
  10. Protestors who carry loaded rifles instead of signs are employing terrorist tactics to make a political point. Protestors who display swastikas and wear Nazi attire are not patriots. They do not love this country. They are not “very good people.”

If you are a person of faith, please keep praying and rest in the knowledge that God is in control. He will see us through this trial. He will not forsake us. His promises are good and as reliable as the sun rising and setting each day.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay sane.