Many politicians are currently trying to make people forget this, but the reality of this pandemic remains the same: Until a vaccine is available, or we reach herd immunity, the virus is going to continue wreaking havoc in our lives and people are going to continue dying at elevated rates.
As of publication on May 12, 2020, the U.S. has suffered the loss of over 82,000 lives. The actual count is likely higher than that due to underreporting. The so-called leader of the U.S. apparently wants us to forget this, or thinks that the economy is more important than the death toll. Please do not fall for the propaganda. Please don’t become immune to the reality that this is serious and real lives are being lost.
We understand the damage that’s being caused to the economy, also — yet it’s a false equivalency to suggest that we either can save lives or salvage the economy. Both are priorities and decisions need to be made in light of that. There are no good solutions, only less-bad ones.
In light of all this, what can you personally do, and what SHOULD you personally be doing for yourself and also for the good of us all?
Should you be doing everything in your power to avoid becoming infected?
Or is it OK to be cavalier about possible infection, or even let down your guard and skip the protections, in an interest in actually getting it, and getting it over with?
After all, aren’t they saying that we need “herd immunity” in order to fully reopen the economy? Doesn’t that mean that the ones who can afford to get sick and live through it, should seek to contract the virus, in order to get to the other side more quickly?
Well no, not really.
For starters, unless you intend to self-infect and then completely isolate yourself immediately in a contact-less quarantine situation for the next three weeks straight, where you have literally no in-person interaction with another human being for that full length of time, then you are being selfish and careless. Perhaps you’re a healthy young person and you don’t think the virus will be a big deal if/when it gets you. But what about everybody else? You cannot control who you spread it to. It is irresponsible and unethical to intentionally get the virus and not quarantine yourself completely.
The other problem with voluntary self-infection is that you don’t actually know how your body will react. By now you’ve heard so many stories about apparently healthy people, even quite young ones, coming down hard with it, and many not ever recovering. There’s no way to predict who will come through it and who will not, or the timing.
If you were to try to self-infect right now, then you’d be even more irresponsible. That’s because people are getting restless, and the government is encouraging people to go out, and restrictions are being dropped — which means in about 2 weeks’ time, the hospitals in many areas are going to be deluged again. It’s likely that most areas have now got enough reinforcements in place that it won’t be quite as extreme in terms of risk of overloading capacity in health care when the next spike occurs. However, there’s still not enough PPE everywhere and if you are currently healthy, then it is of questionable ethics to intentionally infect yourself at a time when hospitals are already under strain, no matter if your motivations are to be over and done with it so that this herd immunity thing is attained.
Remember too: There’s no definitive answer yet on whether someone who’s infected is actually immune, and if they are, for how long. Every type of virus behaves differently, and they haven’t been able to run enough studies on coronavirus to know how it behaves over time. Presumably, yes, getting infected provides protection against subsequent reinfection, at least from that strain — but just like with the regular flu, mutations are happening. We need to get flu shots every season because of such mutations. Getting the flu one year does not offer protection from getting it the next. There’s a chance that coronavirus works in the same way. Nobody knows the answers to these important questions yet.
What is certain is that the U.S. government has been incompetent in how this pandemic has been handled, and the misinformation and in some cases intentional disinformation costs lives.
There’s now this constant background noise of news about coronavirus and the massive problem with that is we’re becoming desensitized to it as a people. We don’t yet have a “new normal” for how we’re going to live. Nobody knows what life is going to look like for the next few years as this works its way through our communities.
It does not matter that 97% of people recover from coronavirus. The three percent who die? Those are three percent who would otherwise be alive today — and if the U.S. government had been prepared, and had responded appropriately, with urgency and compassion, vast numbers of those people would be walking the planet today. You can’t say, “Oh, it only kills the sick and the weak and they were doomed to death anyway.” No. That is simply untrue.
Please don’t lose perspective.
It’s like if a person with cancer is sitting in a car.
They’re sitting there, alive in a car.
They’re in the car, but they’re alive.
That person in the car is not dead. They’re breathing and alive. Even though they have cancer.
And then comparing that person (who is alive) with this other person who has cancer and is sitting in a car…
And it’s a self-driving car*, and the car drives the person with cancer off a cliff.
Now you have one person sitting in a car who happens to have cancer, but is alive.
And you have another person who is dead.
We can see clearly from this comparison: The self-driving car is what killed that second person.
Well, the American government is the same as that self-driving car. They have driven people off cliffs by their horrific response to the crisis. People who would otherwise be alive with their families.
Be on the lookout for those false equivalencies. More than anything, we need critical thinking skills.
Here’s another place where such analysis is important:
Despite what you’ve heard, the virus is not like the flu. For coronavirus, the rate at which it kills people is ten times (10x) the seasonal flu (source: Dr. Anthony Fauci, testifying to Congress – “[T]he mortality of the seasonal flu that we get every year has a mortality of 0.1%. The stated mortality overall of this, when you look at all the data including China, is about 3%. It first started off as 2, and now 3. I think if you count all the cases, the minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic, it probably brings the mortality rate down somewhere to around 1.”
The illusion of numbers is that both 1% and 0.1% seem tiny. But when we’re talking about populations the size of the U.S., those are massively significant numbers indeed.
Besides, if we could PREVENT that 0.1% of flu deaths, wouldn’t we try?
So maybe you’ve been wondering if you should go out and get infected with coronavirus, in order to get this thing over with.
If you’ve been wondering that, we hope you’ll think twice. If we try to rush our way to herd immunity, it’s going to result in major more casualties. We’re still early days. We’re in what’s called the fog of war — perhaps not quite so acute as it had been a month ago, but still things are murky and very hard to understand in terms of impact and implications and how this will play out for us all.
*EssaySnark has no axe to grind with self-driving cars. At some point in the not-distant future, they will be the norm. For now, the technology is not quite to the point where it’s fully reliable, and it was easy to use in this example.