So, who do we blame for the coronavirus epidemic and the impending collapse of the global economy?

The Wuhan meat market, the alleged source of the outbreak, and the pangolin meat that supposedly carried it? The lax response that allowed it to fester and spread? The people who carried it from one continent to another?

Or we could blame our fellow, filthy humans who went through airports, ignored official warnings and protocol, partied in the streets on St. Patrick’s Day and bought up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer? 

It’s tempting to blame President Trump, too — it’s true that he slow-walked the Unites States’ response to the pandemic, labeled it as a media hoax in its earliest days, when something could have been done to stem the domestic tide of disease, and continues to lie about his response and assessment of the danger.

But the blame game won’t get us anywhere. Not today, when humans in our largest cities prepare to shelter in place, COVID-19 expands exponentially through our populations and thousands and thousands of businesses begin the slow slide to insolvency.

It’s human nature to look for a scapegoat in all of this — we’re as susceptible to this tendency as we are to the virus itself. But seriously: At this stage of the game, what is the point?

What matters now is how we react.

It’s ironic that just as our country has become the most divided it’s been since the Civil War, it is what we do together that will get us through this. But it’s already happening — the helpers have come out in full force, sharing useful information, tendering offers of aid, searching into the far corners to see who will be affected the most by the disease, the economic collapse, the breakdown of normalcy that, it seems, could last a good long while.

Like it or not, we’re in this together. Our collective action is the only thing that matters now. And if we all do the right thing to prevent the spread of the virus, to help our neighbors and retain those connections that bind us, there will be plenty of time to play the blame game later.

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