Cuenca High Life logo

Expat Life

Simply cowering in fear doesn’t suit me

By Rob Bell

I am not the kind of person who waits.

I’m an active person. A doer. I feel more comfortable being proactive than fatalistic. And after eight days of voluntary quarantine, I am practically jumping out of my skin!
I accept the idea of remaining largely isolated to fight the spread of coronavirus. I see the wisdom of; staying six feet from other people, coughing into my elbow, wearing a face mask in public, washing my hands thoroughly with soap on a regular basis, and trying not to touch my face.

Sponsored ad

Ecuadorian authorities now command that we must “shelter in place” until at least April 17. I approve of Ecuador closing the borders, stopping air traffic, shutting down all public transportation, erecting road blocks, shutting down “non-essential” businesses, restaurants and bars, movie theaters, sporting events, walking on the beach, surfing, hiking, biking, going for nature walks. I see why government is limiting our trips to shopping for food, medicine, and banking. I understand why we are forbidden to go outside between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

I pray these draconian measures are temporary. I fervently hope they find a vaccine for the virus soon. People are dying. People are suffering. I get it.

What I don’t get and can’t do – at least comfortably – is simply stay at home doing nothing to help myself except pray that health and government officials save me. I need to be far more proactive than that.

All the doomsday scenarios presented by the media, government and medical authorities are lacking an important element; guidance on what we can personally do to stop the virus. Instead I have been bombarded with fatalism and what we can’t do.

— I have been told that drinking hot liquids every twenty minutes DOES NOT HELP stem the coronavirus.

— I have been told that taking Vitamins A, C & D WILL NOT make contraction of coronavirus less severe.

— I have been warned not to tell people that if they CANNOT TASTE OR SMELL it means they very well may have coronavirus (mainly from apparently offended people who already have issues with tasting and smelling).

— I have been told that just because I may have a sniffly nose, or a sore throat, or am running a fever, it’s NOT NECESSARILY coronavirus.

I’m tired of being told by authorities what coronavirus isn’t, and what doesn’t work to fight it. I’m tired of being told there is nothing I can do to avoid contracting the virus except cower at home and pray.

I do not want to believe that one can contact, carry and spread the virus for up to two weeks with zero symptoms! There must be SOMETHING we can look for, whether its undo fatigue, a dry throat, bloodshot eyes, or itchy skin. Nothing operates in a vacuum.
And if we can catch it early, there must be SOMETHING we can do to stop it, or at least make it less intense!

I wish health professionals and the media would dwell at least as much on cures and optimism as they do on shock and defeatism. I’m not saying muzzle the press. Please give us the daily number of dead and infected, but in equal measure, give us positivity.

While I am now voluntarily giving up my freedom of movement for the common good, it’s temporary. I am not giving away my personal freedoms to big government forever.
Getting fresh air, sunlight, eating more fruit and vegetables, taking vitamin supplements, getting enough rest, getting exercise, stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol.

Theoretically all these things make us stronger and healthier, and being stronger and healthier should help fight even the dreaded coronavirus, isn’t that right? I enjoy bacon and eggs as much as the next guy, but if authorities told me the virus doesn’t attack vegetarians I for one would stop eating meat, wouldn’t you?

So, my dear authorities, along with telling us the negatives, and what we cannot do to protect ourselves and the common good, please also tell us some positives, and what we can do. We need hope right now.

Simply cowering in fear doesn’t suit me.
Rob Bell is an expat who fully supports the Ecuadorian government’s strict rules limiting our individual freedoms, on a temporary basis, to fight the coronavirus’ spread. Please visit for Rob’s videos, still photography and observations about beautiful Ecuador.

24 thoughts on “Simply cowering in fear doesn’t suit me

  1. OMG Great Article. this is so timely so true and I feel the same way. Unfortunately the media will not stop their onslaught of horror show antics, keeping people in a state of fear, keeps them wanting/needing more information to try and save themselves. Thanks for this….

    1. Shut off your devices, stop reading… meditate, wash the dishes, take a nap, set up a schedule for yourself, it helps. Prepare to learn new experiences in this period. Respire profundo, give thanks for your blessings and be PATIENT.

  2. I agree Rob. I for one am taking a daily walk, frankly under the pretense of going shopping. It has to be done for my mental and physical health. Google ” Covid 19 safe to jog ” I am also starting a home workout program, although it is just getting underway. addendum, just got 2 miles in at a very good pace, very few out at this hour, felt good

    I avoid any unnecessary shopping for sure, and take all the other precautions. But my sanity counts too.

  3. Jesus…have you NOT heard that this is a NOVEL coronavirus, for which (for now) THERE IS NO CURE? Would you like the media to just make up a cure to make you feel better? Get a grip, man. Here’s what you CAN do: Stay home!

  4. I agree with many of what you wrote. The statement of having a the virus and being asymptomatic has been shown to exist in many other medical situations. Rand Paul apparently admits to having no symptoms and for being a doctor he totally showed why he walks the halls of the Senate instead of being in an operating room. I’m personally glad he can’t be doing ether now for a while. BTW I do vote in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I was a lifeguard for a number of years on the beaches of NYC in my late teens and twenties. It was a Great job and we received great training. When we put RED Flags up they were done with a purpose, To keep people out of the water. I cannot tell you how many saves we made of people who refused to abide by the warning. My point is the repetitive warnings will hopefully save one life or many. The governments and health officials are asking us to do so little. Sadly as this pendemenic grows with more people being affected people will start to put faces to the numbers. I will never understand why people believe it won’t happen to the. I can only say that the RED FLAGS are flying. Sorry that you might think it is a personal inconvenience. I HOPE EVERYONE SAYS SAFE!

  5. typical response of a “can do” North American….you should consider yourself blessed that you live in a country where the government truly cares….more freedom in the USA if you want to go back north…personally I spend my day cutting trees, clearing land, building my stone cottage, playing outdoors with my 4-year old daughter…life is perfectly normal for me because I thought ahead to move out of the city and live in my eco resort paradise….those who choose to live in the city pay a premium for what they consider a sense of freedom…but when the restaurants and grocery stores eventually are forced to close what will you do???

    1. Hey, man — your comments are not very encouraging for the issues Rob brings to the table . I think they are valid issues, feelings of helplessness and lack of control for almost everyone alive anywhere in the world. This is a tough and scary time — I say support each other to have the feelings and the right to express them.

      Each to his or her own, country or city decisions are made individually for reasons known to the decision maker. The thing is — your point is DOING, the North American way is not all its cracked up to be. Many are stuck in doing but many will begin to learn something important about themselves as well. It sure helps when they turn off their devices…

  6. hey rob, right on with all that you are doing to contain the virus. but, I dont know what else to say. we are not allowed to even volunteer our services by the authorities, but you can volunteer on your own. e.g. do you have a car? ask around. Yesterday a friend offered to get groceries for me because i am on foot. a taxi driver and friend spent three of his allowed days searching out things like masks, gloves. if you are on foot you can still use a taxi to find necessities for shut ins. these are the people that i fear for. and let’s not forget the internet – messenger, skype, zoom meetings. Most of us crave face to face interactions. set something up. If you have a fave driver find out if your cedula and his ‘plate match. walk in the sunshine and call for a pick up once you are done your shopping. suggest that to others. keeps part of the economy percolating. Maybe others can chime in?

  7. When there is no vaccine. When there is no cure. When the disease spreads exponentially (and yes, you ARE given almost daily updates on infected and dead — if you’t read them, nobody to blame but yourself if you really want that). When the disease is so deadly.

    Well, there in NOTHING you can do better than hunker down and wait it out. Don’t be so selfish that you think you are the only one suffering, and that you, alone, deserve what we all prefer.

    And if you want positive news, LOOK FOR IT. As one example, here is an interesting article from yesterday statistically and graphically showing how effective the Shelter In Place has been in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Read that… and then tell me you still want to throw a temper tantrum and go play outside, putting everyone you know (and many you don’t know) at risk…

    1. In so many posts here, what folks say is great and right on, but the way they say it is so disrespectful. We North Americans have to work on that,

  8. If you are “tired” now….. just wait. It continues to amaze me that so many relatively intelligent adults are unable to see the difference between “reality” and “how they wish things would be”.. It is called “cognitive dissonance”.

  9. I am so weary of hearing about my freedoms and so little about my responsibility. We owe it to ourselves and all our neighbors to listen up, shut up and isolate yourself as much as possible. WE know one large part of the problem with this virus is during the 5 to 7 days before symptoms we are infectious. On average during this period we infect 4 people. Now take 4 to the 6th. power and we see how one can infect over 16,000 in in just a few days.
    Here are a few ideas to cope with this at home.
    We must plan our days carefully to avoid having mental depression. We first practice good hygiene every day, don’t let your self go. Plan out your time to not overindulge your phone ,tv etc, set limits, don’t binge. Take brisk walks around your living space. If you isolating correctly you drop the maid service for now and busy yourself keeping up the house. Ration out treats and pleasures to look forward to. With this we have done our most important part. Good luck.

  10. Rob Bell, all you have offered is a combination of whining and virtue signaling. The notion that I would patronize your website is laughable.

  11. Unfortunately, I feel it is irresponsible for CuencaHighLife to publish this very personal rant which belongs on this fellow’s Facebook page. This is a monologue that can invite disrespect for the simple rules of shelter in place. More responsible journalism would be to help people get through this safely and effectively.

    1. This is the author’s personal opinion, so marked by the “guest column” logo. I applaud CHL for allowing a variety of opinions even if it offends the tribal sensibilities of some readers.

  12. Now 2pm will make grocery stores more crowded. The daily rush. We depend on delivery too, eating dinner at 2pm doesn’t sound appealing. Four or five pm would make more sense. We are getting no exercise what’s so ever. Very unhealthy for seniors. That will kill us before the virus.

  13. Good article . We are all overwhelmed with an onslaught of Coronovirus information that has come down the pike in a very short period of time. It seems like we were all just cruising in our lives, aware that their was concerns about a new virus on the horizon, and than bam the world turned sideways and everything changed dramatically. This epidemic is monumental and difficult to process. The lock down will require from us deep self reflection and patience , for we don’t fully have all the information to know the outcome.

Comments are closed.