*

Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com

Opinion

Pandemic panic

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

We are facing a pandemic worse than anything most of us have ever seen before, and thereís no way to know if itís going to get better or worse. Lots of folks have said itís got to get worse before it gets better. I hate to agree with that, but it seems to be going that way ó especially if youíre like me and failed to stock up on toilet paper in time.

COVID-19 has infiltrated our lives in so many ways over the past few weeks and it all started with panic. Panicked people bought more toilet paper than they will ever use in their lives. Panicked people physically fought over toilet paper. Panicked people cleared out the hand sanitizer and frozen goods and meat sections of the grocery store.

Now, I am no stranger to panicking. I have always experienced anxiety in one way or another, so I understand the need to control something. We canít be sure that we wonít get the virus, even if we take every precaution suggested to us. But we can control how much toilet paper we have and how well stocked the deep freeze is. I get it ó I truly do.

While I havenít bought enough toilet paper for the apocalypse, I have been paying attention to what people are saying about this virus and it scares me to death. Iím well aware of the symptoms and the group thatís most at risk of dying from the virus. My nana, who has never slowed down for anyone, is part of that group. As public offices and schools close, all I can think about is my nana and how badly I want her to be safe.

Iím sure many of you understand that feeling. We all know someone who will be affected by this virus. If you ask me, weíre all going to be affected by the virus eventually. The recent cancelation of public events and meetings is just the tip of the iceberg unless we stop panicking, only take what we need and stay home.

I know itís not always easy to only take what you need. Our brains can go a little crazy during stressful times, especially when everyone else is going crazy with us. I have been feeling a little bit of that myself, though Iím not that concerned about myself. Iím worried for the kids that rely on public schools for hot meals, the single moms who barely make it by and everyone that isnít in the place to take any kind of financial hit.

Last year, Gideon was still working at a hotel and as a substitute teacher. None of his wages were reliable. Sometimes he got full-time wages and sometimes he didnít. We were doing our best to make it until he got a full-time teaching job in the fall, which he did. Looking back on it, I realize that we would be in an incredibly tough spot if COVID-19 hit last year. Weíre feeling so much uncertainty over the virus today, but we havenít once worried about paying the rent.

If youíre in a spot where you can self-quarantine and work from home, I hope you feel as lucky as I do. Thereís so much to panic over, but that doesnít mean we shouldnít be grateful for what we have. So long as we keep moving forward, stay calm and stay home, everything will be OK. Remember that we have a duty to our neighbors to take care of ourselves and, in turn, take care of them.

Letís take care of one another.