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Coronavirus side effect: Keeping me up at night

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Oh dear. There are so many things to fret about in the middle of the night. I guess if you don’t wake up, it’s not a problem, but if you do, there can be a lot to keep you awake.

Some nights it is just a trip to the bathroom, a drink of water, and right back to sleep. Other nights, the brain kicks into high gear and keeps going, usually making lists or some such mundane thing. But right now, there are a lot of outside concerns invading my sleep time.

One mind-boggler is the coronavirus. As a disease, it’s no more frightening than a bad strain of flu, but because it’s unfamiliar and spreading, it is a cause for concern. There are all sorts of dire predictions and I keep trying to imagine a situation in which we would all be quarantined, and I can’t get my head around it.

For example, we all have to eat. How would that work? If we are told to stockpile food, what do we do when the milk runs out? Would restaurants close? What about all the people who work in them? Would those of us who deliver Meals on Wheels keep doing that, or would the usual recipients have to go without food. How about food banks? Soup kitchens?

And as I toss and turn, my head spins on from there. I worry about the young people. While they aren’t particularly at risk from the virus, each year is unique and important in their lives and they can’t ever get back lost time. A lot of college students have already had their long-awaiting study abroad program aborted. If schools close, high school seniors would lose important rites of passage when they have to forgo prom, award ceremonies, and maybe even graduation events.

Athletes are training for an Olympics that may not happen and their window-of-opportunity will pass. There is talk of March Madness being played in empty venues, and other gyms, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, swimming pools, etc. might be empty as well. Theaters and concert halls and museums could be closed.

The dominoes in my head keep falling, and first light can’t come a moment too soon.


Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.

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