Pandemic Tango

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Protests of the stay at home orders are growing, state by state, around the country. It’s not, in my opinion that people aren’t afraid of the Wuhan Virus, it’s that in some states draconian measures have been in place that won’t allow people to reasonably move about and to at least some extent, conduct their lives responsibly.  The other side of the protests though is the chance that there may be some in the crowd that are infected, but asymptomatic.  how do  we balance the safety of the public at large while allowing people at least a modicum of freedom of movement? It’s a careful balancing act, I believe.

We can’t, and shouldn’t ban innocuous activities, like cutting grass, painting a room at home, or gardening in the yard.  These are fairly solitary activities that don’t endanger the public at large. The same with hiking – as long as social distancing is kept in mind – but how many times has anyone witnessed a group of 10 or more people hiking together, all bunched up? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but as an avid hiker where I live? Never. So it’s okay to allow state parks to be open for simple recreation. Why restrict people from activities that are not only physically, but mentally healthy? Fishing. We like to fish. It’s semi-solitary. I’m just listing a few of the activities that come to. mind immediately. I’m sure others can provide longer lists of safe ones.

The government (state) cannot keep people locked down in their homes indefinitely, until, as some have said, there are zero cases of the virus. I don’t think there will ever be zero. Yes, I believe it will, as it appears now, abate, but will it ever go to that magic number? No. Already restaurants, those that don’t have takeout or delivery, and bars, are failing en masse. Some say, Oh, they’ll come back once this is over, but I think we’ll see a lot fewer around than before the pandemic. There’ll be fewer people wanting to congregate, for fear of another outbreak. The New Normal we are hearing about will not be anything like the normal before the virus.

People now, it seems are interested in placing blame than in ensuring the health and welfare of the citizenry. Of course China’s to blame: anyone today that believes that this virus did not begin in China, and that the Chinese government lied and obfuscated the seriousness of the Wuhan Virus, is fooling themselves. There are those that want to blame President Trump, or at least the Federal Government at large for not being prepared. There’s certainly some blame to be placed there. But what about the individual states? Why did  none of these have any protective gear, ventilators, etc., available for such an emergency? It wasn’t that long ago that this country experienced a near pandemic with H1N1; That should have been a shot across the bow of these ships of state, from federal on down. But our memory, it seems is short.

The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 is the perfect example. Estimates (yes only estimates) of 100 million people around the world died from this form of influenza. Personally, I do not recall ever reading about it in history class in school. Maybe it was a footnote somewhere, but I don’t think it was ever discussed. I had relatives (grandparents) who were young adults during that time. No one ever spoke about it, even to their own children. So what happens in say, 2 generations after Wuhan? Will those that are still around then pass on to their children and grandchildren what occurred in 2020? I don’t even think it’s 50/50. In other words, unless we go through another pandemic or 2 in the interim, this memory will quickly fade and those governments will not be prepared for may be possible in that not-to-distant future. What we’re referring as New Normal now, will be their normal. What will their New Normal be like?

Major sporting events: Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, and Soccer are all on hold or cancelled for the remain of the season. The Olympics have been delayed until 2021 – at least. The European Championship (a major Soccer event) – cancelled, again until next year. Will we ever have large crowds at sporting events again? The real question is will people want to gather in crowds of multiple thousands to watch them? We’ll see but even if stadiums are ever open again, expect to see significant restrictions on crowd size and placement as well as being ready to have temperature taken upon going through the gate, maybe even having to wear a mask. Eventually though, everything will become part of everyday life. In the meantime though, do we as a society huddle in our homes until the government tells us it’s safe to go outside and at least attempt to live our lives? No, we shouldn’t  but right now, and at least in the near future (months?) we all need to realize there’s going to be risk involved, to ourselves and to others.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Pandemic Tango

  1. There was a protest drive-around scheduled today for Annapolis, Maryland…petition included. It is not so much that the protest is about “state-at-home” tactics, but about allowing locales with minimal contagion to get back to business. It is supposed that 40% of the current craft breweries/pubs will not get back to business and small downtowns that have struggled to survive before the lockdown, will simply die. But maybe not, for one can hope. But, yes, the authoritarian state has demanded what we must do, and folks are getting pissed off.

    Worse, the agricultural business results of nation and state lockdown have yet to cycle down to the people, but when it does and the shelves are truly empty, there will be more outcry and demand to get back to work. But the bottom of the wheel has to work its way back up before shelves are full of produce and meat and milk again…and that is going to take a while, and prices have to go up to offset the damage done to the Ag corporations down to the farmer. That is worrisome to anybody who is paying attention. I mean, you can make do without your hair stylist and your local watering hole, but when there is no meat, dairy and produce to be bought from the money you make at the job you are now back to work at, that is a whole different thing.

    Maybe I am wrong, but the fear is there. And the eggs for making chickens, etc. and the piglets for making pork chops and the cows and beef need to grow again if their mommas are still alive and crops have to be planted again and grow to fruit and people have to be ready to harvest them. And all this is going to cost farmers money that they probably don’t have… Then you can worry about shipping and stocking and ability to shop.

    Just weary and feeling not so hopeful, I guess. And since we grow chickens for a large company and we know what is going on and just moved our flock (thank goodness) and are aware that we might be out of business for 8 weeks this time and we know what that means for us, but also what it means for those who have mortgages on their farms and haven’t paid last years farming bills even….well, it is depressing, to say the least. Is there a Depression around the corner? I am fearful.

    But you know what is more depressing to farmers? It is the terrible waste. Wasted time, wasted money, wasted energy plus sweat and tears and wasted harvest. I have read that farmers are doing the best they can to get food off their farms into the hands of their fellow citizens, but it has become an impossible task and it takes the heart from them.

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  2. About the Spanish Flu; we don’t know how good we have it with this virus and modern medicine. Most, if not all nearly all, people are dead that experienced that pandemic.

    Take the Swine Flu of 2009-10; 60 million infected, 300,000 hospitalized, 68,000 dead are common statistics on that. Modern healthcare was supposed to be ready for another novel virus after that. What happened? The only good thing done this time was to slow the spread, thereby slowing the rate of serious cases that need hospitalization or more treatment than just take it easy, drink fluids, take Tylenol and call if it gets worse and wait for Summer to knock it down. Predictions were adjusted and aren’t as bad, but I just get so angry that we could not pull together as a country, and given a week for planning, couldn’t absolutely all of us (hospitals and pharmacies and law enforcement excepted, etc) and stay the hell sheltered at home for two weeks. Wasn’t it that serious? Or was it just political and made for good media and maybe very bad for Trump? Can you imagine if Congress had reacted immediately together with Trump and all the Governors and made a force to be reckoned with, together with the will of the people to nip this virus in the bud? Instead nobody really took it too seriously. And they still haven’t.

    So…I will stop my rambling on.

    On a lighter note, Jim. I am sure that is you doing the tango, but who is the Woman In Red? Well done…

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