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Virus from a world away brings chaos

In the 1960s the concept of Chaos Theory was proposed. The notion was that small changes in complex systems could have large effects elsewhere. This gave rise to something called the Butterfly Effect, which said that the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Asia could give rise to hurricanes in the western world. These notions were met with interest among scientists and a collective shrug in the general population.

Now, a half century later, we find that someone who ate a bat in a remote province of China has set into motion a series of events worldwide that can only be described as chaos. Thousands of people have been sickened by a virus called COVID-19, with many even dying. World financial markets are in frightening decline, and in the United States all but essential businesses are closed, while citizens are asked to practice social distancing − if they go outside their homes at all.

And − gasp! − there is no toilet paper on supermarket shelves. It is indeed a bizarre and perhaps scary situation we find ourselves in. What to do? Be safe, and to borrow a phrase coined by our British cousins at the outset of World War II, "Be calm and carry on." This too will pass.

Thomas M. Moriarty

East Lyme 


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