This guest post was submitted by James Kerian of Grafton, North Dakota.

Calm down.

Don’t be afraid.

Take some deep breaths.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow the Governor’s instructions or the President’s instructions or the Bishop’s instructions. It’s their place, not mine, to lead. But follow them without being afraid.

Everyone I talk to has fear in their eyes, in their voice, in their posture. Fear is pandemic and you’re hurting your kids, you’re hurting your neighbors, you’re hurting the people you still interact with by failing to control that urge to be afraid. Fear really does weaken people, and scar people. You can follow these recommendations without being afraid. Do it that way.

If it helps any, there are a lot of good reasons to not be afraid aside from the harm that fear does to you and everyone around you. To begin with, this virus is not going to kill your kids. It just isn’t. Kids have been shown to be essentially immune to this. If you must worry about your child worry about the other 13,000 diseases in the world because literally ANY of them are more likely to kill your child than this one.

Second, you don’t have it. Stop killing yourself with worry about whether or not you have this disease and are unknowingly passing it on to the very few people you’re still having some interaction with. In North Dakota we’re not testing everyone who has some of the symptoms. Of the people who have so many symptoms that they’re eligible for a test there have been 15 cases found out of the 508 people who have been tested. So even if you had so many symptoms that you were eligible for a test there would still be less than a one in thirty chance that you would have the disease. The number of cases will climb fast as we test more and more people. I won’t be surprised if we have 50 cases in North Dakota in a few days, but you still don’t have it.

Third, even if you had it you would be fine. Of the 15 positive cases so far only 1 of them has required hospitalization. So even if you were one of the very few people with enough symptoms to be tested, and you were one of the very few of those who actually had the virus… there’s still a near certainty that your case would be so mild you wouldn’t even need to be hospitalized. You are going to be fine.

Fourth, even if age or smoking history or pre-existing respiratory disease makes your parents particularly vulnerable to this thing, then 1) this isn’t the only thing they’re vulnerable to and 2) they still probably don’t have it and 3) even if they catch it the entire blessed country is essentially moving all of its resources into helping them against this threat. That movement is what is making things feel abnormal and creating an atmosphere of widespread fear, but it’s also why even in the extraordinarily unlikely scenario that your parents catch this, they’re going to be ok.