Initially when I saw all the information in the media about Coronavirus I was very sceptical because it felt like scare mongering. However the more I read from sources that I trust, the more I find myself feeling the need to think beyond the first-order effects (stay healthy, wash your hands, you will be fine) and consider the second and third-order effects. And as Adam Kucharski reveals in his new book the Rules of Contagion to halt the progress of a disease you “first have to master the arithmetic.”
The key concept explained in Kucharski’s new book is the reproductive number – the average number of people each infected person will go on to infect. This concept was derived by Ross who did pioneering work on malaria in Victorian times. What he realised was that you don’t have to eradicate every case you simply have to make it harder for the disease to spread. It is currently believed that Covid-19’s reproductive number is between 1.5 and 3.5 and so the challenge for the authorities is to bring it below one using tools like quarantining and social distancing.
With that in mind why didn’t the UK Government take the decision to close schools last week? According experts they took on board the role played by human psychology. People’s willingness to adhere to quarantine measures will wane over time as “fatigue” sets in. In other words the timing of bringing in such restraints is critical. The UK public had more freedom last week in the hope that there will be greater compliance over the need for restricted movement further down the line.
Looking beyond the first-order effects
In the confusion and fear generated by the pandemic, it’s hard to see an up side. Let me share a second-order effect you may not have considered. We know that the virus has a disproportionately adverse effect on elderly people. Trends show that older voters have a tendency to vote more conservatively. Quite a number of countries have elections this year including the US, Greece and Poland. If a higher number of older people are unable to vote that could have quite an impact on the outcome of those and other elections.
So that’s the rational brain response. As you know I am also interested in the deeper meaning of events. Many practitioners I know that do deep transformational work have been feeling more tired than normal and wondering why and I would like to offer a very different perspective on the Coronavirus. Below is a response that Jewels Wingfield received when she meditated and asked to understand the meaning behind the virus:
Water is trying to speak to us
We as a human species are on the verge of extinction
Destroying most of life on earth in the process
This is reason to grieve
This is reason to grieve
This is reason to grieve
But we refuse to grieve
We carry on, business as usual.
Corona virus is governed by the element of water
In essence it begins to fill our lungs with fluid and leaves us feeling like we are drowning.
The lungs are the sacred keepers of grief
This virus is here to help release the river of global grief inherent in every human being
Our bodies, through this virus are processing the grief we refuse to feel.
We need to let the grief flow
We need to feel our Love
We need to feel our hearts breaking – open
We need to return to living from the deepest love and for all life.
How are we responding at WSL:
Here at WSL HQ I am taking the following precautions in acknowledgement that the Coronavirus will be with us for quite a while yet:
I always leave at least 30 minutes between face to face clients to make sure that I can wipe down door handles and surfaces like the bannisters and the bottles that have been handled during the session. I will change the white cloth I use to place the bottles on and the hand towel in the cloakroom with greater frequency too.
Whilst I am taking these steps, it is not from a place of worry or fear because sustained over time such negative emotions can affect your health. I say having just found out that we can no longer go on our holiday and so am having to help my children to manage their disappointment; and knowing that my father has flown to Hong Kong ignoring the concerns of the rest of his family.
It is also important to act responsibly so I am also asking clients to change face to face appointments into online ones if they think they may have been in contact with the virus.
Finally on Friday 20 March at 14.30 UK time I will be offering a free healing meditation to help you weather the effects of this pandemic. So many small businesses are being adversely affected by this news. So get in touch if you would like details of that.
How could this be an opportunity for us:
- Develop new healthy habits: get out in the sunshine and boost your vitamin D levels which is much needed as we emerge from the winter into Spring. Consider reducing your intake of sugar or even going vegan twice a week.
- Up your nutrients: taking vitamins C and D regularly will boost your immune system immensely. Increase your fruit and veg, especially antioxidants, dark berries, plums, ginger, and natural antibiotics like garlic.
- Rest and recover: if we end up in lock down, use the time well, and try to do something you have always wanted to do but never found time for. Read, rest or start that project that’s been on the back burner.
- Wake up to what really matters: expressing love and compassion for one another and for the earth. Reduced productivity in China has led to improved air quality.
To conclude the hardest thing at the moment is how much is unknown. There is a natural tendency to want to be in control and yet we have to learn to surrender as we cannot predict the outcome. At the moment there is no vaccine and won’t be one for the foreseeable future. Whatever your view, I would like to end by saying you only have to look through history to see that we have experienced situations like this in the past. That gives me hope in that we have made it through before and we will do so this time