A Public Service Announcement, or “Love In The Time Of Corona”

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment to address everything that has been going on lately. These are scary times. There, I’ve said it. People are saying “it’s no big deal, this will all blow over”. While I am absolutely certain we will collectively get this problem resolved, it is a disservice to people everywhere to minimize the severity of this crisis and the distress people are feeling.

COVID-19 has been classified by the World Health Organization as a Pandemic. This is not something they would do lightly, and it is important that we all take this situation seriously. The speed at which the virus is spreading is sorely testing our infrastructure (when I say “our”, I am referring to North America). Italy is reporting hundreds of deaths per day, and countries are starting to close borders/quarantine. Having said all of this, we should not in ANY way be panicking.

Earlier this week (before things got particularly bad), my wife and I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up a couple of things. We were met with an enormous line of people, all of them buying 3-4 packs of toilet paper each. The shelves were ransacked, and it was chaos. I saw video footage later of a CostCo in Laval where people were fighting over toilet paper, and destroying store property in the panic. I’ve heard reports of individuals buying out toiletries, then selling them back to the public privately for huge profits.

Where does this mad rush for toilet paper come from? COVID-19 does not produce any sort of symptoms which would merit this sort of insane stockpiling. What I’ve noted is that some people have been incorrectly reporting online that the virus produces diarrhea, and I strongly suspect that this spread of misinformation is leading people to incorrect conclusions on the appropriate way to handle this crisis. Perhaps it’s because people are lining toilet seats with it? Making tiny toilet paper forts? I have no idea. Please: if you are not an informed medical professional, refrain from spreading potential misinformation online. There are organizations which are properly informed and better equipped to deliver these messages (see below). As for the hoarders: shame on you. We are better than this. When you hoard things that you do not need, you are creating an artificial shortage of supplies, and possibly impacting people who are more vulnerable. This is predatory behavior.

While we should definitely be practicing Social Distancing, please take care of those around you. Check on your neighbors. Call your families. Keep lines of communication open. If you have more than you need, please consider giving to food banks. These are going to be tough times, and this is an opportunity for everyone to support their communities. Let’s be better, and take care of each other. This is a time for love.

I’ll be taking this time as an opportunity to catch up on my reading and other forms of entertainment. Times will be tough for a bit, so perhaps consider buying/pre-ordering some new books? I’m sure our author friends will appreciate it. A good story is certainly a welcome distraction right now!

If you want to learn more about what is happening right now from a reputable source, and how best to protect yourself and your loved ones, here is a link to the World Health organization:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

I wish you all well, and ask that you continue to stay safe. We’ll get through this… together.

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