Reasons to Be Positive

Just another run of the mill day. The sun was out for a season tease of warmer weather to come. As I type I can hear my kids jumping on the trampoline in the backyard. Their rambunctious sounds fill me with joy. With so much loss and suffering in the world during this crisis, it is the little things that are giving me delight the last several weeks.

Earlier in the day, I posed a question to my wife and children. What is a positive thing that you’ve learned or experienced during this stay at home lock-down the past 5 weeks?

As I reflected on this myself, a few thoughts came up. The main positive for me has been the quality of time that I have been able to spend with my wife and my children. I mentioned to my wife that I don’t think we have spent this much continuous time together in our seventeen year marriage since we were dating. I also remarked to my children, that this is the most time I’ve been able to spend with each of them since they were born. As tough as this situation has been, I am grateful for that. I never spent a complete month uninterrupted with my mother or father that I can remember, and it has been an unforgettable experience getting to know a little bit more about my wife and children.

I really love hearing about their concerns, dreams, aspirations, goals, anxieties, and just to feel their closeness. I know that not everyone is having the same experience and for some it is an utterly heartbreaking ordeal. That realization makes my time with my family all the more cherished.

Throughout all of this I have also contemplated on just how fragile life is and the indiscriminate nature of this virus. It doesn’t care if you are conservative or liberal, or if you think you’re healthy or not. One minute we can be fine and well, and the next we are gone. Love the people in your life and let them know you love them. Time is short. Time is fleeting. What is a hundred years in eternity? What is hundred years on earth? A speck of time and place in the vastness of the universe. Just enjoy it while you can, at least that is what I keep repeating and reminding myself.

I’ve also learned to better communicate with far away family members. My mother traveled back to a Haiti a few weeks before the coronavirus started in the U.S. and is now stuck there. The horrific news was coming from China and Europe and I advised her not to go during all of this. At first I was upset with her for such a foolish decision, especially since she is high risk due to her age. I’ve come to realize that the same way I let my kids learn from their decisions, I have to do the same with my mother, and respect her decisions, not matter what I think. I’ve been talking to her almost daily through Whatsapp and have really appreciated the in-depth discussions we’re having that probably never would’ve happened with my former busy/hectic schedule. I was always too busy for long phone calls, and now I cherish them and call too frequently. It’s sad that it took a pandemic for me to change.

Lastly, the other wonderful thing that I’ve learned is that I can do things that I always thought I couldn’t. I’ve always liked to write, but always made excuses for not taking the time to do so. Work, family, meetings, responsibilities, and excuse after excuse after excuse. It’s really a cathartic exercise and a way to express how I’m feeling. I think for a lot of people, they’ve looked at this pandemic and subsequent shutdown as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, try something new, or just simply start something that they have planned on doing for a long time. Before this I never had a blog of any sort.

Again, it took a pandemic to get me to do something that I have wanted to do for a long time. Despite the difficulty and the suffering all around us, there are rays of light, and reasons to be positive.

The Patriot Act and the Coronavirus: Crisis and Privacy, We Have Seen This Before

We are treading in the unfamiliar neck high waters of a novel virus pandemic, yet we are also treading in the murky familiar pattern of sacrificing privacy for urgency. It was not that long ago that our country collectively experienced the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Our leaders needed a rapid solution to counter the terrorists after realizing that our ineffective bureaucracy was impeding intelligence work as well as stifling speed of action. America’s civil liberties changed along with the twin tower attacks and a valid justification for a decrease in privacy. As the immediate threat subsided, the justification of a possible future attack kept those diminished privacy laws in place. Is it difficult to see the same pattern playing itself out now with the COVID-19 pandemic? We have a valid life-threatening reason to give companies like Apple and Google free reign into our personal lives (as if they don’t already). They can help save us from ourselves using their technology. In tech we trust!

It has been said by many a politician that one should never waste a good crisis. Congress could never have passed the laws that followed 9/11 under any other circumstances. The USA Patriot Act grew into an organism with tentacles too long to unwind ourselves from its grasp. Then in 2008 after the housing bubble burst (that no one saw), we decided more legislation was the answer once again! Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act to protect us from further systemic financial threats. I liken these bills that go to extreme measures after the fact to putting in a million-dollar security system after your house has already been robbed. I get it, it makes you feel safe, but the deed’s been done, and probably won’t happen the same way again. Now on the cusp of another crisis we are again looking to enact more sweeping measures, but this time to give broad powers to a few companies to examine everything we do.

September 11th and the Patriot Act

If we look back at the sentiment of the country during the September 11th attacks, it was a time of confusion and fear. Sure, as the years passed on, those sentiments have faded from our collective memories, but the reality is that we were all in a state of shock. The reaction was quick and decisive. The measures subsequently put in place provided refuge and immediate protection.

The longer-term repercussions and ramifications, which we did not see then, now bring up questions like how do we unravel these labyrinthine measures in peace time? The greater question is in the future how do we learn from the past and implement policies that both protect us within a crisis, and not impact future generations that might not have been alive during their creation but are suffering under its repercussions. We justify it by saying it is the only world they know. My children know nothing else than a world with social media, too much sharing and an invasion of privacy. They were simply born into and so it is.

When the terrorist threat was imminent, we liked the idea of going after the bad guys that were trying to kill us and going after them as quickly as possible. I get it. I was in that camp. What we did not like was the idea that there was someone somewhere reading all our emails and searching all of our private conversations without legal justification. That seemed like a step over the edge.

In my deep dive (not really), into Wikipedia, I found some startling information I did not previously know about the Patriot Act. It looks like we were surely stepping on fourth and first amendment rights in an obvious way. It states,“…the permission given to law enforcement to search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s consent or knowledge; the expanded use of National Security Letters, which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search telephone, email and financial records without a court order…”(Patriot Act, n.d.)

When you look at what Wikipedia calls the most controversial parts of the USA PATRIOT Act and the case of Nicholas Merrill you start to worry that we are exemplifying George Orwell’s 1984 fears to a T. I apologize for the long quote, but I felt it was worth the read.

Wikipedia USA Patriot ACT Title V


“One of the most controversial aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act is in Title V, and relates to National Security Letters (NSLs). An NSL is a form of administrative subpoena used by the FBI, and reportedly by other U.S. government agencies including the CIA and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It is a demand letter issued to a particular entity or organization to turn over various records and data pertaining to individuals. They require no probable cause or judicial oversight and also contain a gag order, preventing the recipient of the letter from disclosing that the letter was ever issued. Title V allowed the use of NSLs to be made by a Special Agent in charge of a Bureau field office, where previously only the Director or the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI were able to certify such requests.[114] This provision of the Act was challenged by the ACLU on behalf of an unknown party against the U.S. government on the grounds that NSLs violate the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution because there is no way to legally oppose an NSL subpoena in court, and that it was unconstitutional not to allow a client to inform their Attorney as to the order because of the gag provision of the letters. The court’s judgement found in favour of the ACLU’s case, and they declared the law unconstitutional.[115] Later, the USA PATRIOT Act was reauthorized and amendments were made to specify a process of judicial review of NSLs and to allow the recipient of an NSL to disclose receipt of the letter to an attorney or others necessary to comply with or challenge the order.[116] However, in 2007, the U.S. District Court struck down even the reauthorized NSLs because the gag power was unconstitutional as courts could still not engage in a meaningful judicial review of these gags. On August 28, 2015, Judge Victor Marrero of the federal district court in Manhattan ruled the gag order of Nicholas Merrill was unjustified. In his decision, Judge Marrero described the FBI’s position as, “extreme and overly broad,” affirming that “courts cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, simply accept the Government’s assertions that disclosure would implicate and create a risk.” He also found that the FBI’s gag order on Mr. Merrill “implicates serious issues, both with respect to the First Amendment and accountability of the government to the people.” [117] Initially, the ruling was released in redaction by Judge Marrero. The FBI was given 90 days to pursue any other alternative course of action but elected not to do so. Upon release of the unredacted ruling on November 30, 2015, it was revealed for the first time the extent to which the FBI’s NSL accompanied by a gag order sought to collect information. Through the court documents, it was revealed for the first time that through an NSL, the FBI believes it can legally obtain information including an individual’s complete web browsing history, the IP addresses of everyone a person has corresponded with, and all the records of all online purchases within the last 180 days. The FBI also claims via the extension of an NSL, it can obtain cell site location information. In the landmark case of Nicholas Merrill the FBI in specific sought to seek the following information on an account: DSL account information, radius log, subscriber name and related subscriber information, account number, date the account opened or closed, addresses associated with the account, subscriber day/evening telephone numbers, screen names or other on-line names associated with the account, order forms, records relating to merchandise orders/shipping information for the last 180 days, all billing related to the account, internet service provider (ISP), all email addresses associated with the account, internet protocol address assigned to the account, all website information registered to the account, uniform resource locator address assigned to the account, any other information which you consider to be an electronic communication transactional record. This was the first time it was revealed the extent to which an NSL under the Patriot Act could request communication information.[118][119]” (Patriot Act, n.d.)

Corona Tracking

As it stands today, we are allowing tech companies like Apple and Google to track us using the Bluetooth chip that is in your smartphone. The idea is that it will reduce the spread of coronavirus by letting phone users know when they are in proximity to someone who has been infected.

This gives me mixed feelings for several reasons. First, I love technology (Napoleon Dynamite reference), but I also love what technology can do and will do in the future. I love the idea of technology saving us from a pandemic. What better use of human ingenuity and years of collaborations eventually culminating to saving our planet from a deadly disease?

All that being said, it doesn’t come free. It comes at the expense of our personal privacy. To many placing technology and privacy on the scales of lady justice, it seems like a good trade-off. Right now, in the moment it seems like a great idea. Yeah, sure, let’s get it done ASAP and save the world.

It is only in hindsight when we don’t have the pandemic equivalent of looking down the barrel of a gun, that we realize we don’t want that Bluetooth technology tracking us all of the time. It already does, but now it will be deeply tracking everyone we encounter. Does this lead to a 1984 Orwellian future where there are no secrets and there is no privacy from big brother?

In the wrong hands this tracking data could give information to mal-intentioned individuals information about high profile targets, like heads of state, governmental power players, or athletes and celebrities. We have seen increases in cyber-attacks but imagine the havoc that could be wreaked with knowledge of everyone you’ve interacted with, in addition to where you’ve been at all times.

We have already seen the great use of coronavirus tracking software to help us stay informed as to how the virus is spreading. That has been a wonderful tool for local and national leaders to help implement polices to keep citizens safe. That is a prime example of how information sharing technology can bring about positive results.

If history has taught us anything it is that when too much power (today that is information), is concentrated in the hands of too few, that power will be abused. Not always, but most of the time. Take Congress with its spending and legislative power. CEO’s and boards with abilities to set salaries and benefits, including golden parachutes. Think of powerful men and their abusive sexual exploits leading to the Me-Too movement. Lastly think of what we did with the Patriot Act and how to this day we are still unwinding the tentacles of 20 years ago.

Again, I am not against the idea of tracking individuals that have the virus and spreading it. I think it is a brilliant idea and we are fortunate to live in a time when we can do it. It is still many times better to be alive today in a world in the throes of a pandemic than it is to be alive in the centuries before. We just need to make sure that we have a well thought out exit strategy that will see us through the other side. Think of all of this like a prenup. We need a pandemic technology prenup. The right to split up amicably and quickly and we want it all in a writing beforehand. There will come a day when we are not worried about the pandemic and fear of losing our loved ones. And on that day our minds will shift from fear of pandemic death to the realization that we killed our civil liberties.

Stray News Bullets

Is this twenty-four-seven pandemic news cycle weighing heavy on your psyche too? There are almost too many stray bullets of information hitting me from every angle. Too much information to process and it often feels overwhelming.


Is anyone else drowning in too much negative news? It was hard enough as it was pre-pandemic just trying to stay positive and keeping my family safe. Now I’m watching a deluge of conflicting information from pundits, leaders, healthcare professionals, and a slew of armchair pandemic experts.


I hadn’t had a panic attack in a long time and then suddenly, while reading a news article the other day, and while feeling some chest pain, I went into full blown panic mode. I honestly thought I was having shortness of breath related Covid-19 symptoms. I told myself I would go to sleep that night and if the shortness of breath was present in the morning, I would call my physician. I woke up the next day and felt completely fine.


I was able to see and experience firsthand just how easy it is to let the barrage of news all around me influence my mental and physical well-being.


In addition, it seems like every time I read about the suffering of others, I internalize it. A trait I inherited from my mother. Some might say, that’s part of being empathetic, it’s a good thing. I agree to some degree, but it can also be debilitating if you let other people’s stories and pain become your own. I think we can be empathetic and not internalize the worst of other’s suffering. I think.


What’s the best approach? I have no idea. I’m a news junkie, and I’m an unrepentant book junkie, heck I’m just a read anything-I-can-get-my-hands-on junkie. I never met a book I didn’t like. That doesn’t bode well for my chances of success in managing my anxiety. A lot more meditation, prayer, and Joe Rogan podcast.


Another thing weighing heavy on my mind. The irony in all of this is that we have more information than ever before, but we can’t figure out how to entirely process it, and we have to spend a great deal of our time deciphering what is real and what is fake news. I hate the term fake news, but it was fitting.


What’s confusing is the number of journalists and comments I read in the Wall Street Journal and in the New York Times that state our President and his administration are dispensing inaccurate information. If we can’t trust them, where do we turn? There is also a growing chorus of people that disagree with advice and counsel from Dr. Anthony, Fauci, who is supposedly one of this country’s foremost experts on infectious diseases. If we can’t believe him, who do we believe?


The reality is I can’t decipher what is accurate and what is unbiased news anymore. It used to be that if you got your news from a “credible” source that was good enough because there was at least some semblance of journalistic integrity. In this age of blogs (I understand the irony as I write), everyone has a megaphone, which makes information evaluation more complicated. In addition to this when I read news being reported on social media, especially on apps like Twitter, there is no fact checking because everyone wants to get information out first, and the platform character constraints not only force a lack of context, but even worse the intention is for views and not information accuracy first.

I’m not going to stop reading the news, but I probably should cut back. Either that, or just continue to let the stray news bullets keep coming.

Savage

They’re all idiots! I live in a house full of whiny idiots.  They’re all savages! I literally live in a house full of savage animals. They’re all idiots, and they don’t even know it.   

It was her mental way of dealing with all the stress at home. This constant stream of self talk.

Crap, I’m driving too fast. I can’t get a ticket right now. Come on Jen, get it together. I don’t want to get sick.  I don’t want to get this freaking virus.  Not with my diabetic husband and crazy mother living with me.  Geez, imagine the crap I’ll get if one of them dies because of me.  I’ll never hear the end of it.

She had to be the tough one now.  She always had to be the cooler head, the caretaker.  She was the caretaker of her kids, the caretaker of her elderly mother, and now begrudgingly the caretaker of an incompetent husband.  She had to be the strong one on the outside, despite her feelings of inadequacy and anxiety on the inside.  The stress of all this pandemic caretaking was taking its toll on her.  

Just keep your foot on the gas. Just keep going. 

She was driving 65 miles per hour on a 25 miles per hour road.

 I’m losing control. No, I’m in control.  This is me in control.  Jen, just chill out. I never have time for myself.  All day long I’m just taking care of my husband and my mother.  How did this become my lot in life? Seriously God, how did this happen to me?  I am so tired. I can’t do this anymore.  I’m the freaking sacrificial lamb that has to go to the grocery store, make dinner, risk my life every time I go out, and no one cares about me.  These roads are so dreary.  Why can’t I live in Hawaii right now?

But there is something about the rain on her windshield that she likes, and she can even appreciate it.  Somehow, she feels as if the rain and the weather understand her and are reflecting her mood.  

Times are tough, but I’m tougher. Times are tough, but I’m tougher. I’m tougher.  Jen you’re tough.   Twenty-three years of marriage to the same unappreciative husband, and I’m tougher for it.  I’m like Job.  I’ve endured it all.  Matt doesn’t’ realize how much I do for him.  If it wasn’t for me, he’d be dead by now.  I put him through business school, and I took care of the kids.   

Jennifer Clark was used to being pushed around.  She really is tough in a lot of ways, but she is also a people pleaser, against her own wishes, she usually caves in.  What her family lovingly refer to as softy.  She had always been the leader of the household and has usually displayed a certain warmth, but the stress has been accumulating since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, and her love and patience is starting to fade.  In her marriage she is the martyr who sacrificed her career and she reminded Matt about that on a weekly if not daily basis.  She let her mother and her kids walk all over her.  It wasn’t her fault.  She had a mother and brothers that treated her like a doormat at a young age.  The only one who never manipulated or took advantage of her was her father.  And he was gone.  Killed in a tragic car accident way too early in his life.  Leaving behind a family that struggled to retain a sense of normalcy.

But things were going to change.  She was sick of all the years of emotional abuse from her husband and kids.  She was sick of her mother taking advantage of their generosity and living with them.  She was doing things her own way going forward. 

She saw the gas convenience store up ahead on the right through all the rain coming down.  She knew the place well.  She had been there exactly 2045 times in her lifetime, but she didn’t know that.  It was her daily ritual for years.  She was never one to get out of her routine.  She was the structured and disciplined matriarch of the family.  She was the Sargent, well, in some ways.

She was attractive and for a 45-year-old mother of two kids, she looked about 10 years younger than her age.  She was grateful for the compliments that strangers gave her that made her feel better about herself and helped her realize that she still had it.  It wasn’t that she was needy and seeking compliments, but she liked the reassurance.  Her husband rarely gave her compliments anymore. 

She was going into the store to get a 32-ounce diet coke from the fountain.  That was part of her routine.  It was her daily reward for her daily five-mile runs.  She prided herself in staying fit.  Running everyday was her escape from her husband and the kids during this pandemic.  Having her husband around at home all day was tougher than she thought it would be.  She loved Matt but he was getting to be a burden.  He was 50 pounds overweight, and never felt that he got a fair break in life.  He had type two diabetes, he was considered high risk in this environment.  It was wearing on her and their marriage.  Even the kids couldn’t take the constant complaining between them.  

Jennifer knew that if it kept up their marriage wouldn’t last.   She had been spoiled the first few years, but as the demands of kids and life and her own dreams and goals were placed on hold, she could no longer continue the charade.  Either Matt had to change, or she would leave him.  She wasn’t the problem. It was him.  He was the savage.  He was the one who was always yelling and complaining, and she had had enough. 

Unbelievable, this store is always busy.  Even during a mother freaking pandemic. Seriously people, stay home. 

She parked her beautiful white German engineered car and quickly ran in through the glass front doors of the store. 

Just getting my drink and getting out of here.  Look at this guy.  He looks like a mess.

She had just made eye contact with a tall awkward looking thirty something year old man.  He started laughing and smiling at the same time while looking at her.  She couldn’t understand why he was laughing, but she was used to getting creepy stares, from creepy men, and had even had some horrific encounters with men like him in the past.  She quickly assumed he was laughing because she had on her face mask, sunglasses, and a hoody from her run earlier in the day. Whatever his reason she wanted nothing to do with him.  She had the mask and sunglasses on because of the pandemic.  She had a high-risk husband an elderly mother at home.  In addition, she had two kids and if she got sick herself the whole household would be a mess.  She was a little bit annoyed that he didn’t have a mask on and seemed like the type to not take anything in life seriously.  A terrible thought popped into her head, quit laughing, loser

He wasn’t attractive, not the type that she would ever have interest in or give the time of day to.  And now he was laughing at her? The whole interaction was less than 2 seconds but enough time for her to look, assess, and make her judgement call.  She knew what kind of guy this was.  He’s the kind of guy that lives in his mother’s basement, is unemployed, and looking at women like her as a fantasy.  She threw him back a slightly disgusted don’t look at me face.  He couldn’t see it at all beneath her mask and sunglasses. 

She beelined it towards the fountain machine for her diet coke.  At this point in her life, she had better things to do than to worry about what some creepy guy thought of her.  She was looking for the foam soda fountain cups but had forgotten that in the midst of the pandemic the store now sold cups that were individually wrapped in plastic to avoid employee contamination.  She glanced to her right and left, up and down and couldn’t see the cups.  She looked behind her and there they were stacked on the counter, next to the creepy guy with his back to her. 

She abruptly said, “excuse me”, and even surprised herself when she realized her tone.  She thought for a brief moment, that was harsh.  He moved a foot to the left not even looking back, doing whatever creepy guys do in gas station convenience stores. 

She tore open the plastic wrapping and filled up her foam cup.  She was proud of herself now.  She had just run her daily 5 miles, and this was her treat, her cheat for the day.

Ugh. This machine takes forever, and I just want to get out of this place before I catch something from this guy and all these other people.

She put the plastic lid on and got in line.  She was behind an older woman who was counting change to pay for her gas and was taking her time counting.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

The lady finally got done after what felt like an hour due to Jennifer’s increasing anxiousness to just get out of there.  The lady hobbled slowly out of the way and Jennifer put her drink on the counter and mustered a quick, “Hi” to the cashier.

The lady at the register replied, “is that everything?”, with a slow southern drawl, which Jennifer always thought was so out of place for this suburban part of Virginia.

Even though Jennifer had been in that store many times she never made an effort to know the names of those at the register.  She wasn’t into small talk and with the pandemic she definitely didn’t want to talk to the cashier with no mask on.  She kept her head down and looked at the card display screen on the counter.

“Yup, that’s it”

“That’ll be $1.06 honey.”

Jennifer subconsciously reached her right hand into her jacket pocket as she had several thousand times before, but nothing was there.  An instant shot of adrenaline shot though her body.  It was a sense of panic added to her already high anxiety. 

Son of a…

She frantically placed her left hand into her left jacket pocket.  Nothing.  She frantically put both hands on her running tights, forgetting that they don’t have pockets.

“Crap, I can’t find my wallet. I’m so sorry”, while still not looking at the cashier but looking down and retracing her steps in her mind. 

“Let the next person go, I’m going to look for my wallet.”

“Okay dear, no worries, let me know what I can do to help.”

Jennifer stepped slowly back to the fountain machine while still looking at the ground searching for the wallet.  Her thoughts are drowning in possible scenarios. 

Did it fall while I was getting out of the car? I had three hundred dollars in cash in there. My drivers license, my credit cards, crap.  Crap, Jen, keep it together. What the hell Jen.  You’re so stupid.  Think, think, think. Where did I go? What was I doing?  Did someone steal it?  I need to call my bank and my credit card companies. I need to call the DMV and get a new license.  What the hell. Why me?  This is not my day.  This is such bad timing. 

As if there was ever a good time to lose your wallet.

She traces her steps back to the front doors while still looking down to make sure that she isn’t missing a spot in the convenience store. 

As she is about to go through the front door she hears, “I found this all on the floor, there was all this cash on the floor by it too.”

Then the familiar voice of the cashier lady, “Hun, hey lady, … I’ve got your wallet.”

Jennifer turns around and manages to blurt out, “Oh thank you. I was starting to panic.  Oh my gosh, you’re a lifesaver”

“I didn’t find it, he did”, says the cashier as she points in front of her.  Jennifer turns to look at the hero in front of her who found her wallet and had the decency to report it to the cashier.  It was the creepy guy, and he was paying for his stuff with a young girl holding onto his hand.  She was beautiful and Jennifer assumed it was his daughter. 

“Thank you so much.  Thank you for finding my wallet.”

“No problem mam, it was just on the floor with a couple hundred dollar bills next to it, and I thought to myself, I would be all messed up if I lost my wallet.  So, I turned it in.”

His daughter looked at Jennifer with loving eyes while she now held to her father’s leg with two hands. 

Jennifer noticed he was giving her the same creepy grin again and he even chuckled somehow while he was explaining all this to her. 

She gave him a smile, but he couldn’t see it through the mask and sunglasses.  All he could decipher from her was her body language. 

Jennifer got into her car and called her husband to recount the whole story.  Matt could only let out, “Jen, you really need to be careful with your wallet. That’s the second time in the last couple months you’ve lost your wallet. Listen Jen…”  She was so upset from the whole situation that she just wanted to punch Matt’s unsympathetic face through the phone.  She hung up on him midsentence. 

She started the push button keyless ignition in her car.  The engine purred.  She just wanted to get home and relax, what a stressful morning.  

She was speeding again on her way home. This time fifty miles per hour in a thirty zone.  She could see up ahead through the rain that the traffic light had just turned yellow.   She performed her split-second mental gymnastics and realized that she could make it the light. 

Her foot pushes on the gas and as she is getting closer, she can see some bozo trying to cross the crosswalk when he shouldn’t, especially in the rain.   She realizes that she can go through the intersection without hitting him.  He’s closer to the sidewalk.  As she gets close to the intersection she slows down and honks her horn to let him know that was dumb. 

Jennifer turns to look at him and in a split second through her wet rainy driver side window, she makes eye contact.  The eyes looking back appear heartbroken.  It’s the creepy guy walking in the rain with his daughter in hand.  In that instant, he recognizes her, she recognizes him.  The cruelness of her actions hit her.

I’m the savage.

Top 10 Coronavirus Myths and Truths

First, before we start, my disclaimer. I am not a medical/healthcare professional or an infectious disease expert. I have compiled information for you from leading experts and credible organizations, and their websites. Please use this information at your own risk and as with anything in life, be prudent, and apply your own common sense. Do not use this information as a recommendation or advice to your particular health or medical situation. When in doubt, seek the advice of your trusted medical or healthcare professional. Said otherwise, don’t be an idiot. Be safe. Protect yourself and others around you.

All information below is from the following sources: https://www.cdc.gov/ https://www.who.int/ and https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/. Each fact is a link that you can click on to take you to more information from these three websites.

Myth # 1 – Exposing yourself to higher temperatures prevents the COVID-19 disease.

FACT: Exposing yourself to higher temperatures DOES NOT prevent the disease.

Myth # 2 – The coronavirus only affects older people.

FACT: Everyone is susceptible, both the old and the young. Those who are older and/or have pre-existing conditions are at higher risk of severe complications or death. Young people with pre-existing conditions have died from this disease.

Myth #3 – There are treatments for the COVID-19 disease.

FACT: As of now there is not a treatment or medicine that can prevent coronavirus.

Myth #4 – There are antibiotics that can treat and prevent Coronavirus.

FACT: Antibiotics are used for treating bacteria, not viruses.

Myth # 5 – The coronavirus is only spread through the air.

FACT: According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can live in the air and on surfaces between several hours and several days. The study found that the virus is viable for up to 72 hours on plastics, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, and 4 hours on copper. It is also detectable in the air for three hours.

 What’s getting a lot of press and is presented out of context is that the virus can last on plastic for 72 hours—which sounds really scary. But what’s more important is the amount of the virus that remains. It’s less than 0.1% of the starting virus material. Infection is theoretically possible but unlikely at the levels remaining after a few days. People need to know this.

Myth # 6 – The coronavirus was man made.

FACT: Viruses can change over time. Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be.

Myth # 7 – Any face mask will protect you from COVID-19.

FACT: Certain models of professional, tight-fitting respirators (such as the N95) can protect health care workers as they care for infected patients. For the general public without respiratory illness, wearing lightweight disposable surgical masks is not recommended. Because they don’t fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, people with the virus on their hands who touch their face under a mask might become infected. People with a respiratory illness can wear these masks to lessen their chance of infecting others. Bear in mind that stocking up on masks makes fewer available for sick patients and health care workers who need them.

Myth # 8 – Ordering or buying products shipped from overseas will make a person sick.

FACT: Researchers are studying the new coronavirus to learn more about how it infects people. As of this writing, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the likelihood of becoming infected with COVID-19 from a commercial package is low since it has likely traveled over several days and been exposed to different temperatures and conditions during transit.

Myth # 9 – You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by swallowing or gargling with bleach, taking acetic acid or steroids, or using essential oils, salt water, ethanol or other substances.

FACT: None of these recommendations protects you from getting COVID-19, and some of these practices may be dangerous. The best ways to protect yourself from this coronavirus (and other viruses) include:Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and hot water.Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.In addition, you can avoid spreading your own germs by coughing into the crook of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.

Myth # 10 – I don’t need to practice Social Distancing or Stay at Home.

FACT: Everyone should be practicing safe measures to prevent the spread of the disease. According to the CDC, here is a list of the most at risk. Please prevent the spread to yourself and those around you, especially the high risk loved ones in your life.