Lynne Cope Hummell

Perhaps by the time you read this, “things” will have returned to somewhat normal.

Or perhaps everything will have stayed the same – an uneven mix of “I can’t believe they canceled this event” and “What are they waiting for?” and “Seriously? Disney World too?”

Perhaps our community – our whole country – will feel even more uncertain than we are feeling as I’m writing.

We can only speculate, can’t we? And that might be exactly what we don’t need to do – speculate.

Now that coronavirus and actual positive tests for Covid-19 have been found in our state, there has been an abundance of sharing of news, opinions, rumors, reports, websites, numbers, memes, and postings on the topic. How did so many people become infectious disease experts in a couple of weeks?

I’m not an expert on any of this. I don’t think many of us are. This is not like an impending hurricane evacuation.

Most of us have never experienced this unknowing-ness, this sort of halfway waiting for the other shoe to drop while not wanting to seem alarmist.

Some think it’s silly to cancel large events, while others are absolutely certain that’s the only option.

Some can’t buy enough toilet paper, while others haven’t even checked their supply.

Stockholders are antsy, watching the market all day long. Business owners are seeing changes in their revenue. Store shelves are cleaned out.

It’s getting weird. We are learning new terms, such as “social distancing.”

As college campuses close their doors and shift to online classes, and fans are being banned from sporting events, we wonder what’s next.

I wonder if a lot of people will be working from home in coming weeks, and if the coffee shop will still be open.

I wonder what would happen if stores really did run out of food. Do we have enough rice and beans in our pantry?

If it gets really bad, will National Guard troops be patrolling our streets?

This is the sort of speculation that can drive us crazy if we let it. So I can’t continue to think like that.

The only thing about which we can be certain is that we have this, here, today. Tomorrow might be different, and we’ll face it as it comes. But right now, it’s OK.

Whatever happens, here are some things I believe we must do:

We must pay attention to official sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, for the latest information.

We must allow the legitimate news outlets to report the news. There is no need to spread information we saw on social media that came from someone’s sister’s neighbor’s cousin who sat on a plane next to a doctor.

We must be kind. Others think differently, and they have their reasons. Don’t judge.

We must maintain our civility. We must listen, and think before reacting.

We must be prepared as best we can – not necessarily in full “prepper” mode, but it might be a good idea to stock our homes with a couple of weeks worth of food, in the event we do get sick.

We must watch after our at-risk neighbors, those who are alone, or ill. Phone calls are fine, but do check in occasionally.

And here’s one thing I think we must not do: Let’s not let fear rule our lives. We mustn’t panic. No one knows what’s going to happen next week – but when did we ever know that?

Be calm, do your best, carry on, eat right, take your vitamins, stay home if you’re sick, cover your mouth, wash your hands.

Above all, stay positive and believe that “this, too, shall pass.”