Psst…The High Risk Population Can Hear You


“It’s only the elderly and sick who are in real danger, so why panic?”

I don’t get sick. Like, ever. I could go around licking doorknobs and probably be just fine. (I won’t though, to be clear). My son seems to have inherited my immune system, based on the fact that he occasionally gets a fever for literally 10 minutes and bounces right back, and that’s mostly it. My husband tends to suffer a bit more, but despite being diabetic, walks off the man-flu pretty fast. We are not considered high risk, and could probably weather COVID-19 pretty well. 

My 71-year-old mom who lives with us, however, is a different story. Even without the chronic bronchitis issues she has, she’d be high risk because of her age. My coworker with rheumatoid arthritis or the others over 60? High risk.

These people KNOW they’re at risk, AND they can hear you when you say it’s JUST them that will die. And they don’t much care for it, to be honest.

They don’t like it when you say this disease will “only” kill 2% of the population (a number that fluctuates) that mostly consists of them. Besides, if 10 million people get it and “only” 2% die, that’s 200,000 human beings like my mother that weren’t deemed important enough to protect with self-inconvenience. They hear you say that, and they don’t like it. And neither do I.

“I thought Norman was above mass hysteria. I guess not.” – comment on the Facebook thread announcing the cancellation of the medieval fair 

I understand that it stinks that concerts, fairs, and even the whole NBA have been put on hold or even canceled altogether. You’re disappointed; I get it. We’re all disappointed. We don’t like being told not to have fun. But here’s the thing. 

It only feels like Mass Hysteria because it’s being done BEFORE things get bad. 

You know how in horror or disaster movies there’s always a scientist warning things are about to get worse, and there’s always a pompous bureaucrat who won’t listen? You know how much we always hate that guy?

What we’re experiencing right now is how the movie would have gone if the Mayor from JAWS had closed the beach. Do you know how mad the townspeople would have been? They, too, might have accused the Mayor of caving to mass hysteria. 

Remember to be good humans

I understand that there’s more than inconvenience involved. There is a very real financial toll, and people who rely on foot traffic or hourly wages are feeling the crunch already. Hopefully, we will all continue to do the right thing and support those who are caught between quarantine or paying rent and feeding their family. Take care of the poor and elderly in whatever way you can. If someone posts that they’re out of baby wipes or TP and you have extra, offer to share. Deliver groceries for people who can’t get out.

It will pass, and we will be okay if we work together. Just remember, even if YOU’RE not at risk, community means taking precautions for others. 


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I grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, where I graduated high school in '95. After moving out of state to Louisiana and later working as a court reporter in Virginia, I moved back in '13. I met and eventually married my husband in '14, and on our one year anniversary discovered I was pregnant with our delightful, crazy adventure of a little boy. Phineas was born July 3rd of '16, perfect in nearly every way except being born with clubbed feet. The journey to get that corrected has been stressful sometimes, but parenting this boy has been the greatest joy I have ever experienced. I can't wait to see what the future holds for our family. 


  1. This is so true. Even if it WERE only the elderly and immune compromised who get serious enough to die, that still would mean extreme uncomfortable times for the average healthy Joe. Working together always works better.


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