Going viral

Have we been making ourselves sick?

The irony should not escape us: a devastating virus that sees no borders is crippling a society whose idea of an impressive achievement is in the thrill of “going viral.”

How can it be that all it takes is one social misfit, sitting in the isolation of his own bedroom, to “infect” a million minds with a single meme or impulsive reckless thought?

Living in a constant state of viral connection clearly has not made us better, smarter, or happier people. To the contrary, our generation suffers from a host of illnesses—pandemics unique to the modern world.

We’ve self-quarantined, increasingly isolating ourselves from real world interactions, instead swimming in a cesspool of juvenile behavior. Our egos, and conversely our insecurities, have exponentially increased. Worse still is when the channels of mass communication are used as a blunt tool to hurt others, while the perpetrator hides behind an anonymous cloak of cowardice.

By engaging in a viral world, our attention spans have been shortened and our capacity for real human connection diminished. Our mental immune system, that which should keep us sane by shielding us from a barrage of societal stimuli, has been dangerously breached.

The influencers we follow and admire mirror the face of the influenza we so fear today.

Now we find ourselves struck with a real viral spread that threatens the rhythm of life. In the age of COVID-19, the words “going viral” transmute into a different meaning. Suddenly, within a mere few weeks, we no longer are much amused with trite memes, or entertained by the diatribes of angry politicians.

We are witnesses to the underlying fragility of our communities, our government, and the global economy. Even expert professionals in every field are at a loss to predict what comes next. We are standing on shaky ground.

Our focus has now been sharpened and turned instead to the basic needs of life, to survive, to have enough to eat and drink, and not to succumb to the panic taking hold—the viral disease that is spreading like wildfire.

As the saying goes, “there are no atheists in foxholes.”. Today, we may find, there is no viral distraction in the face of a most frightening viral disease.

Daniel Trenk,
New York

Doctors’ Day

With the current outbreak of the coronavirus, what better time than Doctor’s Day, on March 30 this year, to let your doctors know how much you appreciate them with a big thank you.

At this time of crises, we also thank the medical teams working around the clock to ensure the well-being of the general public and for providing preventive measures, and to the scientists who devote each day to research in their never-ending struggle against disease.

We are so lucky to have the world’s best doctors in America. I salute them and wish them all a very happy Doctors Day.

Grace Jacobs,
Cliffside Park