Bill McDonald's Newsletter

The Covid-19 Crisis

Within a matter of hours

By now the entire planet is caught up in the outbreak of a new disease that has frightened, sickened and killed thousands upon thousands, that has already shaken our financial markets to the core, that has disrupted travel and travel plans of thousands, that has closed schools… And whatever it is, we are at least coming to realize that in ways previously unimaginable, we’re all in this together. It’s now officially a “pandemic.”

Personally, I had been planning for a couple months to fly to Florida for a week and a half to spend time with friends and family. Airline tickets had been purchased, and my itinerary was almost perfected. My work calendar had been reorganized and cleared.

But during the same time, there were storm clouds rumbling from far away “China.”  People were getting very ill and dying - in very large numbers. International travel was being disrupted. The word “quarantine” showed up a lot in the news. Then it moved to Europe. Then, then, then… as if somebody pushed a giant “sync” button - it hit the United States. And my own travel plans. And I now realize I’m an older citizen (therefore more vulnerable to this virus), and more-so having “an underlying medical condition” (coronary). And, and a woefully unprepared national government. Add to that a realization of how often I touch my face. (Never in my life did I ever consider that would be important!)

Within a matter of hours, I’ve had to deal with disrupted travel plans, a new awareness of my vulnerability, and mortality, an imposed “six-foot distance” personal quarantine, and a life measured in 14 and then 30 day calendar chunks - for a God-alone-might-know period of time. I look at my refrigerator differently now. I look at my house and see lots of things that need taken care of; as synonyms of ‘incarceration’ bounce around in my head. And then an epiphany…

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My monthly newsletter, “Paying Attention,” was launched in April, 2007.  Each one contains thoughts and ideas that occur in the general areas of psychology, culture, or other matters that come from the interface between my work and the rest of the world. They may also contain news and information about myself, and new areas of my work, study and research.


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