Whenever my dog sees a dog or person he doesn’t know, his tail and hackles come up.
It’s built-in response to strangers.
Humans aren’t much different. We also keep a watchful eye on strangers.
It’s all about survival. We are wary because we evolved in a dangerous world.
There are those, however, who deny our nature and those who embrace it.
Take the various responses to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, for example.
Even the name alone says a lot. It was chosen. Originally folks were calling it the Wuhan virus because that is where it originated. But the WHO doesn’t want people associating the virus with a region or ethnicity for fear it causes bigotry.
I think the term used these days is othering. But our evolutionary code registers it as stranger danger.
Is it a bad thing?
Well, I suppose it depends.
A lot of people upon hearing of the outbreak of the novel corona virus in Wuhan, China assumed authorities would restrict entry into the country for those individuals coming from the affected area.
Most countries chose not to and now, depending on the traffic, they are in the midst of their own mini outbreaks. Italy and Iran come to mind.
Canadian authorities took the position the risk of bigotry (othering) outweighed the risk of contagion and imposed no restrictions on travel or entry.
As a consequence, we have hot spots in Toronto and Vancouver.
Now, authorities are asking people who have traveled to hot spots in other countries to self-isolate for at least 14 days.
But wouldn’t it have been better to have stopped people from entering the country in the first place or at the very least imposed a quarantine upon their arrival weeks ago?
That’s the thing that bothers me about this latest pandemic threat. I get this feeling that too many people who make decisions believe it is inevitable it will spread, that this is the pandemic everyone has been worried about for decades.
Those that think think this way also seem to believe that it is up to all of us to rethink how we do things – practice safe social intercourse. No hand shaking, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, wash our hands frequently, don’t touch our faces, etc… You’ve heard it all by now.
In other words, it’s up to all of us to not contract the virus.
Hmm, there are plenty of us who argue that we don’t have to be exposed in the first place, but what do we know? We’re just listening to that inner survivalist voice. What does it know?