Watching a Pandemic

I have occasionally played a game called Plague Inc. During that game the player is an infectious illness with the goal of infecting the world and killing off humanity. Of course humanity responds, and across the top of the screen little headlines scroll saying things like “Japan closes borders to all flights” or “Brazil Olympic games proceed as scheduled creating new infections.” I did not realize that playing the game would make watching a real pandemic unfold feel so surreal. I keep watching the news and thinking how I’ve played this game. My minds eye can visualize how one red dot in a country can multiply until the entire country is red. I also really understand why this particular illness has been so able to spread with it’s long infectious period extending both before symptoms manifest and after symptoms have ceased.

Ultimately this Covid-19 pandemic is very survivable, but it will have significant hits both financially and possibly personally. Because Howard has been struggling with respiratory troubles since mid-January, we believe he is a high risk for landing in the hospital if he catches Covid-19. He’s likely to survive so long as the medical infrastructure is not overwhelmed. Which is why I am so glad to see large events being canceled and Flattening the Curve graphics being shared. Unfortunately if the preventative efforts succeed and the medical system is not overwhelmed, then people will be angry about the “unnecessary” hits they took financially and emotionally through missing events.

Personally, we’re in a fairly solid position. We have resources enough to weather the disruptions of the next few months. We have a large network of friends and family who can aid if full quarantine becomes necessary. (We’re already low-level self-quarantining.) Yet the constant pounding news cycle has raised my anxiety and my mind reviews all those games of Plague Inc. that I played, visualizing all the ways that pandemic scenarios played out. It is both fascinating and frightening.