Hurricanes are eminently physical. You can literally feel the air change as they get closer. Typically the few days before a hurricane hits are extremely hot. The clouds turn a strange orange color. Then, the first fronts of the storm come. It starts to rain, constantly. In the beginning the rain is like a normal thunderstorm, albeit a bit more windy. You can here an occasional clap of thunder, but nothing crazy. As the hurricane continues to push its way on shore, the winds pick up and the rain comes down in a deluge. If the hurricane comes directly for you, the winds become so strong that they crack trees in half, rip rooftops off of buildings, obliterate traffic signs, and shatter any windows that aren’t boarded over. The winds become so powerful that you can hear their passing, as they shake the building you’re in. An eery whistling fills your ears. Throughout this time you are (hopefully) hunkered down in your house or apartment, far away from windows, and all you have to do is wait. Typically, the storm will blow though in around a day, at which point you leave your apartment, survey the damage, and try to reconstruct all that has been destroyed.

Plagues are invisible. They spread from person to person, through droplets sprayed on the door handle of your friend’s house, coughed by your office mate as you’re walking past them, or pushed through your apartment building’s HVAC system. It’s invisible to you. There isn’t a point that you can identify and say, this was where I got it. You might have suspicions on where you picked up the deadly disease, but you really don’t know. You don’t immediately know that you’ve been chosen. The virus could take a few days to a couple of weeks to manifest itself. At that point you develop symptoms. Fever. Cough. Achiness. You’re bedridden for days or weeks. You die or you don’t. At no point did you see the threat that reached out and touched you. It’s hidden from view.

After a hurricane, people come together and get to the work of rebuilding. Neighbors gather together to barbecue as they wait for the electricity to be brought back to their block. Volunteers from the Cajun Navy cram the flooded streets of town rescuing people from the rising waters. Motorists jump out of their cars to pull those idiots who drove straight in to the waters, away from their death. During and after hurricanes, physical help is a must. You stick together to survive and build your community again.

During a pandemic, you need to isolate yourself. You avoid the people who you would typically reach out for in the case of a hurricane. Every person you see could be the one that infects you, and you could then be the person that infects their family. The virus is hidden from view, but it is certainly out there. Waiting. People retreat into their family groups and avoid strangers. Other people are the enemy in this world.