As a former teacher of history and government, I always encouraged my students to follow the news. The first few minutes of each class we had a discussion of current events, I had current event questions on tests. The idea for me was an informed America was a free America. Even had a parent once jokingly complain that after dinner he now was forced to watch the news on TV. We also received the local daily newspaper and two news magazines to use in the classroom. This was in the days before mainstream news got so openly biased toward liberalism.
Now we have wall to wall coverage on TV of news and right now the emphasis on every cable network is about Coronavirus. Our TV screens seem every hour to run headlines, “Late Breaking News” and “News Alert”, even if the same news reports were given earlier. There is an endless parade of experts on what we need to do to be safe and countless accounts of illness and deaths. The latest startling death news is now that 100,000 to 240,000 people will die because of this before it is over. We also hear about closings, a rising unemployment rate and an ever changing Dow Jones Index. President Trump, who is doing a great job with the daily briefings, and many governors are on TV constantly.
Of course very helpful we are also reminded over and over about safety steps we should be taking about washing hands, keeping things clean, how to sneeze, social contacts and many other things. Common sense items for the most part. Amazon and other on the net sales companies are benefitting greatly as there are items like hand sanitizers you can buy that are not available in stores. We are keeping ourselves home quarantined as are millions of Americans.
However, there is one medical fact you do not hear stressed enough. A strong immune system is a good defense against this virus. One thing that hurts our immune system is stress. The mind is a powerful tool and can work against us when filled with worry and fear. The images we see over and over on TV add greatly to that. It is possible that more people could die from stress than the virus itself.
So perhaps we need to ration our news watching. Be more selective as we would be when watching a TV series, films or selecting books to read. We also can better use our time reaching out to others and be encouragers. Make phone calls, write letters, email and message family, friends and acquaintances. Social distance is important, however social contact of some sort is a must. We should be very concerned about those in nursing homes who cannot have visitors, not even family members. Having worked with people in nursing homes we know how stressful this has to be. One resident commented to us that no matter how nice their room, it was still a waiting room for the grim reaper.
Of course most importantly this is a good time to pray, to study the Bible and to support our churches however we may. Many churches now hold services on the net and in some cases even have a drive in setup so you do not have to leave your car. Churches have also recruited volunteers to deliver groceries and medications to people unable to get out. There are a lot of wonderful people out there working to save lives and bring an end to this terrible disease. We do enjoy hearing about these beautiful folks who are risking their lives to help others. This is the sort of news we want more of, news about Americans uniting as we have not seen since World War II.