Notes from the Shelter: A Few Wise Words on COVID-19 From Someone More Qualified than I Am

Topics: fear

The prompt for the #covidartchallenge I’m doing is Greenland. As of yesterday, even in that far away sparsely populated place they had 9 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. While I drew and painted that remote location, I listened to a TED talk on the current pandemic.

Sitting alone in the wee hours of the home where I will be for at least weeks, I feel compelled to share in whatever small platform I have. The speaker Alanna Shaikh is a global health expert who established her own credibility well at the beginning of this video. She has solid and fact-based things to say about COVID-19 and how we got here. She also has suggestions for how to get out of this mess and handle the next one–which will happen.

Shaikh says that the solutions are tough and boring. They include things like washing our hands constantly, taking better care of our environment on a global scale, working to create equitable health care systems worldwide, and learning to better respond to outbreaks in ways that don’t have to cut us off from each other–because humans always rebel against this.

We should also, she pleads, leave the masks to the health care professionals and sick people that need them rather than hoarding them for our own at-the-moment healthy and at low risk selves.

A few years ago, I read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I don’t recommend you read that now. The descriptions of the flu pandemic in that novel are frighteningly similar to our current situation only, in Mandel’s story, there wasn’t time for quarantines.

Station Eleven Book Cover

In spite of its dire outcomes, I loved the book and the characters. They live on in my mind and I see echoes of it in much that is happening right now. I don’t want that ending for us. Let’s walk a new path.


P.S. From the Walter Mitty movie again. Because he went to Greenland and because I so love this long boarding scene in Iceland.

About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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