Jared Leto taught me how to avoid the Coronavirus

Jared Leto probably has the right idea when it comes to the Coronavirus.

In mid-March, after the pandemic hit, it made celebrity news that Jared Leto was unaware of the Coronavirus. He had been in the desert on a meditation retreat when the pandemic struck the US. He returned to discover that the world had devolved into complete and utter chaos.

I’m a little jealous of Jared Leto.

I sometimes wonder:

  • Would life be any different if I had no knowledge of the Coronavirus pandemic?
  • Would our reaction be different if we didn’t have the internet?
  • Is the news to blame for the politicization of the pandemic?

I’m almost positive the answer to all of these is YES.

When I see reporters or pundits complaining about people not taking the virus seriously enough in their desire to go back to work, I tend to think that they have no one but themselves to blame.

I don’t want to be too critical of reporters since, you know, they’re just doing their job. Instead I think we’re suffering from a gluttony of information.

No one really knows what’s going on. At least that’s what it seems. There are people who argue that social distancing is imperative. There are others who argue that social distancing is the worst thing we can do to combat the virus.

If you study the arguments you will see that both sides actually make very good points.

My concern is that the panic and screaming instigated from Covid-19 reporting has resulted in a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” effect. Essentially, the required panic instigated by the news has resulted in Covid-19 skepticism.

You can only cry wolf so many times before people stop listening to you.

Not to make light of people who have fallen ill (or worse) from the Coronavirus; obviously this is devastating, but perhaps we all need to calm down.

I’m guilty of this. I was fascinated by the Coronavirus in the beginning. I saw what the news was reporting but I mostly read epidemiological journals. What many northern European epidemiologists and virologists were reporting directly conflicted with what the mainstream news in the US was reporting.

It made me start thinking that the news was not reporting the full story or perhaps, was just plain wrong.

I didn’t know who to believe. (I still don’t really.)

I needed to decide who to listen to however, so I made the executive decision to pay attention to the CDC and that’s it. I cut out all news. I follow the CDC on Twitter and listen to what they are saying and that’s the only Coronavirus news that now enters my brain.

It’s calm, metered, not overly dramatic, makes no political statements, and seems to make sense based on what I know about the virus.

Since beginning to do this I have began feeling much less worried or panicked about the Coronavirus. I remain aware of the problem but I don’t let it take up too much space in my brain. I’m able to return focus to myself and my goals and move on with my life.

Whenever normal people try to talk to me about the Coronavirus they are always a little confused at how little I know about the current state of things. They are sometimes a little offended at how unworried I am about it. But I like it that way.

I know nothing about the Coronavirus and I’d rather not pretend that I do. I’ll leave the task of pandemic alleviation to the experts. In the meantime, I’ll worry about myself. Or just not worry at all.

I’m going on just over a month of ignoring the news and I doubt I’ll ever go back. I highly recommend it.

Thank you Jared Leto. You’re wisdom knows no bounds.

Freelance writer and professional gig-worker. I mostly write about the impact of technology on business & culture. Find me on twitter @chasebanderson.

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