In Age of Instant Gratification, Pandemic Requires Patience


Terrier Times Staff

Thank you signs have showed up in windows, on lawns, and at businesses across the nation as people at home try to show gratitude for the many essential workers still risking their lives to help others during the Coronavirus epidemic.

Lauren Cincotta, News Editor

Instant gratification is found in all aspects of modern life, especially due to the presence of technology. The Internet among other technological advancements has taken a toll on attention spans worldwide. People have become accustomed to receiving answers, connecting with others and seeing solutions to problems when they want them. The 24-hour news cycle covers stories as they break and people have become accustomed to seeing a story covered in the news and then gradually slip away as they continue with their own busy lives. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced the world to grind to a halt. Schools and businesses are closed, and daily life has been completely altered, and leading reports suggest that the fight against Coronavirus will last for awhile. 

As U.S cases continue to rise, leadership from all levels is working to address the threat, Americans have joined others around the world under strict lockdowns to slow the spread. One of the most frustrating parts of the current situation is seeing all normal components of our daily lives disappear. Work commitments, celebrations and all other things that are integral to life  have been cancelled or are on hold indefinitely. 

In an age where the answer to most questions is a Google search away, being forced to sit and wait, a necessary part of the past two months, is creating a deeply distressing reality. While people are being inundated with updates it is easy to feel like this is a hopeless situation.  Our increased access to media is crucial during this time as it keeps us informed during a dangerous situation. But it’s important to have perspective in this unprecedented situation. Instead of seeing this story pop up in the news for a few days, the coverage of the outbreak is going to  dominate broadcasts and online coverage for the foreseeable future. Due to the concentrated coverage, it may seem like there are no new developments. While the end date that the world is looking for cannot be determined, daily news conferences on the state and federal level show that while the situation is dire, progress is happening.

 In just a few weeks, the U.S has increased testing dramatically considering how behind the country was just a few months ago. Scientists have been able to create images of the virus and clinical trials are beginning in the U.S with the hopes of finding effective treatments. Recently, encouraging data has emerged about Remdesivir’s effect on the lengths of hospitalization in severely ill patients. The data is preliminary and more studies are needed but rapid authorization is likely for anything that proves itself to be a safe and effective treatment. Since the start of the pandemic, there is already so much that we know about symptoms and the virus itself that we didn’t know when it first emerged. Around the world, the race for a vaccine is on, with scientists working toward testing their potential vaccines late this year. 

 Science is moving rapidly, even though the news coverage might create a different perception. As people continue to stay home, days and weeks feel longer adding to individual frustration and desires for normalcy. Although right now it might feel like this is a constant cycle of hopelessness, people have to have patience. This is not happening as fast as anyone would like, but as people look to inform themselves, it is important to remember that this will pass, it will just take some time. This is not the time to promote unproven or dangerous cures. It is time to listen to scientists and adjust to the current reality as well as we can.

 Everyone is struggling with missing important celebrations and milestones. This is not a hopeless situation though, even with restrictions in place, unique celebrations have started around the U.S and the world.  Community events have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. West Springfield residents have joined others across the country looking to stay connected during this time. From March 20-21, residents joined others across the country creating chalk drawings to welcome spring and spread messages of hope. Kids and adults spend some much needed time outside creating beautiful artwork with sidewalk chalk. At the end of the day, people traveled on foot and in cars to enjoy all of the drawings created by neighbors. Chalk drawings have been used to celebrate birthday celebrations and graduations as well as the Easter holiday in April. Another trend that has caught on is the Bear Hunt, where stuffed animals have popped up in yards, encouraging families to take a walk or a drive to enjoy the hunt as well as some the of the elaborate displays families have created. With traditional Easter eggs hunts cancelled, neighbors once again came to the rescue by hiding eggs in their front yards to be seen from the street. Families were able  to enjoy bright Easter displays this year, as the time at home has given families more time to find creative ways to celebrate. 

Even during a pandemic, birthdays have to be celebrated. In place of traditional parties, birthday parades have become a common sight. Family and friends decorate cars and play music during these drive by celebrations. To show support for essential workers and healthcare personnel on the front lines, handmade hearts and signs have appeared thanking these workers for their service and sacrifice while fighting the pandemic. Stepping outside to clap, or in some cases flashing lights at the same time everyday is another way people have been showing support for essential workers. Viral videos have shown whole neighborhoods come together to show their support. Locally, West Springfield Public Schools scheduled a half day of remote learning on Tuesday May 5th. This Day of Honor has an assignment given directly by  the Superintendent. Students are asked to submit a photo, video or note addressed to Seniors in the West Springfield High School class of 2020 to show their support. As more events are cancelled or postponed, the community continues to find other ways to celebrate together and bring some joy during this time.