The numbers will rise, stop staring at them. They grow and grow and we know the majority of real cases go undetected. I could infect my granny, you could infect yours, human contact is lava – avoid at all cost. You stare at the numbers, search for updates, try to make calculations. You seek out the news about places that hammered in a hard quarantine. You stock up on supplies. You get agitated faster. Everyone seems to disagree with you. Do you already have trouble sleeping?
You could watch the statistics of how people die of hunger – worldometers has a nice counter there to see how many per minute on an average day die. Aren’t these numbers fun to stare at? They change many times a minute, much more often than the statistics of the thing you’ve made your new hobby to stare at.
There’s more. Their models show an average count for the ongoing year of traffic deaths, suicides, heart disease deaths… These numbers are large, massive. Like a pandemic. Yet they don’t increase your adrenaline levels as the big bad C-wolf statistics do.
You’ll argue that worldometers counters for these are not real data, they are models of past years’ statistics, averaged out. How real is the statistics for the C-wolf if most people won’t get tested? That is not the point.
I get it. Corona numbers is the hot topic today. The world changes by the hour. You don’t want to miss out on any of the millions of updates. You want to react fast if some changes happen that require you to adapt fast. I get it. I don’t condemn it.
The disease is scary, unknown. It’s a killer. It may lurk in your neighbor’s hands, it may lurk on the payment terminal, it may catch you from a carton of milk that someone else touched. Being forced to stay in, or choosing to stay in, self-isolate to stop the spread is going to help stop the spread. It will also drastically reduce traffic accidents for the meantime. My message is the following: looking at the numbers will not help you nor anyone you share these numbers with.
For the most of us, looking at the numbers change will create more panic. For the most of us, the following message would be enough:
Wash your hands properly, like, all the time, disinfect door knobs, avoid the vicinity of other people other than the members of your house hold, wear masks, make your own masks, all this because you might catch it anywhere and spread it everywhere, and you might never know you brought the new death to your best friend’s granny. Just stay the fuck at home.
If, however, you supply hospitals with medical equipment or you produce medical equipment, or you have access to tools that could be of help, the numbers such as “how many ventilators are needed where and when considering estimated rise in cases” will be relevant to you then.
If you work in a morgue or funeral service, the death rates will matter to you. Maybe it’s time to place an order for more urns or a bigger fridge? It may sound like I’m joking, but when death rates rise, the last thing their loved ones would want is to see their remains treated poorly. They won’t want to collect their remains in tupperware.
If your job is to #staythefuckhome then #stopstaringatthenumbers.
You did’t stare at death rates of other causes, stop staring at these. All it does is scare you further. Your stress levels rise, and with it, for older people the likelihood for a heart attack rises too. Since long-term stress reduces the activity of prefrontal cortex, the arguments you have and decisions you make in this state will be poorer than regularly. More things that people say will seem to you like they disagree with you, even if they completely agree or don’t even talk about the thing you think they talk about. So stop staring at the numbers.
Staying in can be hard. I NEEEEED to talk to people (note the plural form) face to face. I need to dance with people, and I miss swimming. The idea that there are no flights coming or going from my country for an indefinite time is terrifying. The fear that we might have to get the hard hammer isolation in Tallinn terrifies me. Having to maybe pick up running to stay active terrifies me. Not being able to do homework at home nor participate in class with full attention will fail me in uni. This isolation is worse than my childhood summers slaving on a potato field… Everyone will have it slightly different considering how high their need to express themselves is, or what their lifestyle was prior to this, or, well, other factors. But isolation isn’t good for humans. It is close to sensory deprivation, our brains need novel stimuli. So take care of yourself and your friends, call them. If you dare, create up to 3 household networks where none of you in these homes do not visit anyone but the 3 homes. Of course, provided you can leave the house for other than necessities and you haven’t been around anyone who has developed symptoms. This would give you a much needed variety in environment and help you release stress through communication. Watch out for your friends who have depression or bipolar disorder. They will need your attention most.
Keep a diary, call your friends, cook something new, learn to paint or photoshop, watch movies or make them with your phone, write books, read books, go for a walk in a place you can be away from people. Maybe get a pet?
Just stop the fuck staring at those numbers.