How to Deal with the Fear of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

In the worlds of Franklin D. Roosevelt during his First Inaugural Address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Fear is an emotion that can help us or hurt us. Many of us live with unnecessary fear and worry about the future or past. But fear is also useful. I will not climb giant Sequoias or BASE jump off 876-foot high New River Gorge Bridge. Fortunately, I am ALREADY old and I didn’t get here by being Stupid!

Bartlett Lake, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Should you fear or worry about the coronavirus? If that’s not clear by now, the answer is yes. People who say they are not concerned are either lying or lack self-awareness. It is now clear that this virus is not like a harmless cold or seasonal flu. Most people who write about it do it from a medical or political point of view. I’m not an expert. But just like you, I’m impacted by the coronavirus.

Bernheim Forest, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What I know is that it’s a threat. If it wasn’t, President Donald Trump would not have declared a National Emergency. Italy locked down the whole country, the US banned European travelers, the NBA and NHL are suspended, and so forth. Daily life is essentially coming to a halt. No one wants that. And yet, it happened. Why? Because experts don’t know the real threat of the coronavirus! The future will tell, but it seems like the leaders are making the right decisions.

Creole Nature Trail, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Your immune system might handle the coronavirus, but millions of people with weak immune systems might not survive. 

The fear that this coronavirus causes is in our best interest. Fear makes us alert. The whole world is alert. That’s a good sign. We need to be worried right now.  And that’s exactly why I’m NOT worried long-term.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When something bad happens to us, our first response is always fear. That’s the tool the creator gave us to survive. Without fear, we would all be dead. When we’re afraid, we start working on solutions. We have the urge to survive. We become alert, we think about ways to make things better.

Kingston, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dr. Michael Warner, Medical Director of Critical Care at Michael Garron
Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, speaks out about her grave concern s about COVID-19:

“We have lessons to learn from the experience of Italy. Hospitals in the wealthy, industrialized area around Milan cannot offer life support to patients over 65 as they don’t have enough ventilators. Without radical changes to our community behavior, we may be in the same situation.

Botany Bay Plantation, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“COVID-19 is an impending North American healthcare CRISIS which has the very real potential to strain our healthcare systems well beyond capacity. Some people continue to downplay the risk of the current situation. Regardless of what you are reading or politicians are saying, I simply want you to know that the COVID-19 situation is dire and may soon be completely out of control.

Corpus Christi, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Healthcare resources are finite and thus we will not be able to provide care for all who become ill. In addition to COVID-19-related deaths, there will be collateral damage among patients who need care for other, treatable ailments, and will be unable to receive it.

Highway 12 Scenic Byway, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Fortunately, you can do something to help. The only hope to slow the virus is based on community behavior—that’s you, your neighbor, your family—everyone. Begin social distancing NOW—do not wait for a politician to tell you it is necessary. This only works if started early and taken very seriously. This means avoid ALL close contact with people unless necessary.

  • Never shake hands and wash your hands frequently
  • Cancel/avoid all travel
  • Close schools, universities, daycares, and businesses that aggregate people in close proximity
  • Avoid contact with those 65+ especially those who are frail and those with chronic diseases
  • Don’t attend any large gatherings, sporting events, religious services
  • Work from home whenever possible
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Only by everyone’s working collectively can we hope to change the trajectory of this pandemic. The current risk to the individual remains low, but the risk to society is immeasurable.”

You may find comfort in these words from Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky:

  • Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place
  • Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern
  • Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise
Ridgeview National Wildlife Refuge, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

―Marie Curie