COVID-19 Is a Predator — And We Are Its Prey

The media, politicians, and others have likened our ongoing battle with the corona virus as the equivalent of “going to war.”

The doctors and nurses in the overburdened ERs in New York City, when its hospitals were being overwhelmed with corona patients in March, put it this way in discussing the stresses and challenges they were facing when they lacked personal protection equipment, ventilators, and other essential medical needs: “It’s like going to war, but without being given guns and ammunition.”

But as we enter the fourth month since the start of the lock-downs in many of our states, the “going to war” metaphor does not seem entirely appropriate.

Rather, the corona virus, which is stealthy and unseen except under a microscope (it is 1/1000th the width of a hair on our heads), is more like a hunter seeking its prey — and its main prey is the human race.

We like to think of ourselves as kings of the world, sitting atop the food chain. Even if we cannot match a shark in the water or a lion in the jungle, we have weapons readily at our disposal to cope with any threats we may face from the natural world.

But the corona virus has humbled us. We as a species have proven no match for this pandemic that Mother Nature has thrust into our midst.

As with any predator in the wild, the corona virus seeks out the easy targets, the old and the weak. Per Darwin’s theory of evolution, only the strongest survive.

But intelligence also is a key to the survival of members of a species. The pandemic has proven that point as well, also taking as its victims those whose arrogance exceeds their common-sense, and whose folly makes them an easy target for a hunter that fears nothing and that will take advantage of any lapse in judgment.

The early openings in the Southern states, where people have refused to wear masks and do not practice physical-distancing, and where infections now are predictably skyrocketing, have shown the folly of underestimating the power of the virus.

We think a more accurate way for us to view the corona virus is that it has reduced the human race to the equivalent of meerkats. (Timon in the Lion King is a meerkat.) Meerkats, small mongooses, live constantly on alert and retreat to their underground network of burrows upon sensing the slightest threat of danger. If they let their guard down for an instant when above-ground, they can become easy targets for predators.

We too, now find ourselves in a state of existence in which our movement is restricted. We must remain ever-vigilant and be aware that the corona virus is everywhere. As with any predator, the corona virus always is on the prowl and stalking, just waiting for any one of us — its prey — to make that one, fatal mistake.

As is becoming clear in the Southern states, we are fooling ourselves if we think that we have outwitted this virus and that three months of lockdown were sufficient to save us from its grip. The reality is that the corona virus never will cease hunting us and that we must devise a new normal if we wish to regain a semblance of our former lives.

Hopefully, our new way of life, whatever that will look like, will be something better than our present meerkat-like circumstances.

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