Simply cowering in fear doesn’t suit me

Mar 24, 2020 | 23 comments

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.

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.


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