OPINION: The kindest thing you can do is self-isolate
I'VE heard some pretty loud cries and complaints throughout the past few days.
Not a mourning for the current crisis we, as a shared humankind, find ourselves in, but instead the inconvenience this public health crisis has put on our day-to-day lives.
When we have medical officers urging us to take more action, saying that even what we are currently doing may not be enough to stop the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, I still read and hear people in our towns and cities complain about how this is all a gross over-exaggeration.
I cannot help but get frustrated.
Yes, you may be young and healthy enough to combat COVID-19 should you be infected. But, your grandmother may not. Yes, you may only have mild symptoms if you are diagnosed, but for your neighbour who is undergoing chemotherapy, already immune-compromised, him catching it could be the difference between life and death.
Yes, you may make a speedy recovery, but we don't know yet what impact that could have on a mother-to-be.
As a 20-something year old, it has been extremely confronting to watch the world come to terms with the panic this virus has spread.
Just two months ago we were observing the news coming out from China, as if that was a THEM problem, not an us problem.
Now, we see Italy has become the epicentre of a European crisis. Spain, Germany, the UK, and the United States are now reporting more and more cases, and deaths every day.
Schools and universities are being forced to close, and whole cities, states even, are being told to stay inside.
This is not a one-country problem. This is a one-world problem.
Myself, I am social distancing for the next two weeks. This is the kindest thing I can do for my community.
If you are able to do so, I would urge you to the same, as is in line with medical professional advice.
Yes, it is a pain to have music festivals and other major events I was looking forward to in the next few months cancelled.
Yes, it is annoying I have to postpone a European holiday.
Yes, it is annoying that I cannot buy any toilet paper and have had to revert to tissue (I still do not understand the panic buying of toilet paper).
Yes, it is annoying local sports have been cancelled.
Yes, it is all annoying.
But, the whole world is being inconvenienced by this virus.
It is not just me, it is not just you. And the longer we put off action because we are annoyed, the worse it is going to get.
We have a social responsibility to do as much as we can to prevent further spread of the disease. Soon, it could overwhelm our entire health system, and doctors may have to do what they did in Italy and be forced to choose between ventilating young and old.
This will not last forever, but we are extending the impact it has on our society every second we do not act.
So, if you can, work from home, avoid aged care homes, limit your excursions unless totally necessary, don't travel unless it is absolutely necessary, wash your hands and cover your coughs.
This is a shared responsibility.