Fear is a Healthy Emotion

Let me ask you what you think fear looks like, because to me fear is understanding. Fear is not a panic inducing emotion that causes us to run in circles behaving irrationally. Fear is the opposite of that. When I was learning boxing my trainer told me something very important. A boxing glove is roughly six inches apart. You don’t have to duck and dodge to be missed by a foot when being missed by an inch will do. The same concept applies to baseball. A fielder doesn’t need to get a runner out by 40 feet when a foot will do.

When most people think o fear they confuse it with panic. Panic is overreaction. Panic is bobbing and weaving so far out of the way of a punch that you’re off-balance and floored by the next one, panic is rushing a throw to first base on a routine ground ball and throwing it into the stands, and panic is not understanding your fear to the level that you behave irrationally.

Should you be afraid of Covid-19? Absolutely. Now should you go to the grocery store dressed like you’re heading into the heart of Three Mile Island to buy 20,000 rolls of toilet paper? No.

When it comes to Covid-19 the stories of those that don’t make it are heartbreaking. Because of the infectious nature of the disease those that die do so alone. Those that die never get to put their affairs in order, share a last kiss with a loved one, be asked to squeeze a hand one final time. They, simply, are carted off to ICU and never come out. It is a sad and heartbreaking way to go.

The actual symptoms of Covid-19 are just as horrifying. When you hear shortness of breathe you might not equate it to slowly suffocating to death but that is what happens with Covid-19. The body’s immune response to fight the virus ends up popping the air sacs in the lungs and slowly but surely the lungs stop functioning, and the victim dies.

The numbers on Covid-19 are even more sobering. Take a look at those for a second and realize that only 22% of the cases are closed. Only 22% of the million people that have been infected have either passed away or recovered. Then when you look at the closed cases you see that the mortality rate is listed at 20% instead of the 3.4% often sited. Further than that it breaks down the active cases into two categories, those in stable condition and those in critical condition. Of those 5% are in critical condition. If all of those pass and the 95% in stable condition recover then the total mortality rate is 9%. Still much higher than the 3.4% that has been given.

The mortality rate of a virus is impossible to know until it is over and the 3.4% from the CDC is only an estimate. In all honesty I’d put more faith in the CDC’s numbers than my own but in looking at the world wide totals the numbers are terrifying, but that are also clarifying. We should not aim to live our lives absent of fear. For fear is a healthy emotion when we seek to understand the sources of our fear. Should we be afraid of a disease that kills 9-20% of those infected causing them to slowly suffocate and die alone? We absolutely should. Should this fear cause us to grab our shotguns and mow down our neighbors because they might be the infected? Absolutely not.

Fear is not sheltering in place and listening the Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CDC’s recommendations. Fear is understanding that this is a very serious and deadly virus with life and world altering consequences. It is only when we embrace our fear and seek to understand it that we can start to combat the problem at hand.

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