OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m completely over the way that the world has gone into reaction overdrive on Covid. I’m not one of those people who say it’s a hoax, because of course it isn’t. It’s a very real virus, and its dangers are real – particularly for immunocompromised and already identified vulnerable populations. I get all that.
But the long term impacts that our economic shutdowns and school closures and social distancing will have on the whole of humanity are far worse than the impacts that this virus will have on an unfortunate minority of people. I hope that there’s an effective vaccine someday, and that there are effective treatments really quickly, but here’s the thing. WE DON’T KNOW if those things are ever really going to happen.
So when I saw this diatribe on my friend’s FB wall last night (and he’d seen it from another friend, so at this point I’m not even sure who to credit!), I had to share it.
It’s all about that line from Shawshank, y’all. You either get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.
What is the end game with the ‘rona? Anyone?
What is the magic formula that is going to allow us to sound the “all clear”? Is it zero cases? For a while, the goal was to simply “flatten the curve,” but now that we are disconnecting utilities for gatherings in California, setting up check points in New York, and recommending goggles (what’s next?), it seems as if there is, in fact, no end game. And, truthfully, the only way that we will see numbers drop is if we cease testing and stop reporting. Bear in mind that hundreds of thousands have shown up to be tested, registered, left due to long waits, and still come up positive when they received their results.
Is it a vaccine? It took 25 years for a chicken pox vaccine to be developed. The smallpox inoculation was discovered in 1776 and the last known natural case was in 1977. We have a flu vaccine that is only 40 to 60% effective (that’s generous- the last two years it was more like 20-25%), less than half of the US population chooses to get one, and roughly 20,000 Americans still die annually due to flu or flu complications.
Oh, you’ll mandate it in order to attend school, travel to some foreign countries, etc.? We already have a growing number of vaccine researchers refusing proven, tested, well-known vaccines that have been administered for decades! Do you really believe the majority of people will flock to get a fast-tracked vaccine, whose long-term side effects and overall efficacy rates are anyone’s best guess? How long are we going to cancel? Postpone? Reconsider?
Now we are advised against in-person school until second quarter? What if October’s numbers are the same as August’s? Then what? Move football to spring? What if next March is worse than this March?
When do we decide quality of life outweighs risk?
We understand this virus can be deadly for SOME, but so are shellfish, peanut butter, and bee stings. We take risks every day without a second thought.
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We know driving a car can be dangerous, but we don’t leave it parked in the garage for months on end. We know the dangers of smoking, drinking, and eating fried foods, but we do it, nonetheless. We speed on highways, some idiots still don’t buckle their seatbelts, we take medications more than “as directed,” and a good number of individuals don’t think twice about unprotected sex.
Is hugging Grandma really more dangerous than rush hour on the freeway? Is going to a bar with friends more risky than four day old gas station sushi? Or operating a chainsaw?
When and how did we so quickly lose our free will?
I want a waiver that says, “I understand the risks, but I choose a life with hugs, smiles, college athletics, the state fair, concerts, and school dances.”
I understand that there is a minuscule possibility I could die but, more probable, I will end up feeling like junk for a few days. I understand I could possibly pass this virus onto someone else, but I can pass ANY virus onto someone else at any time until the end of time.
Are we busy living or busy dying?
It’s hard to tell these days.