Collateral damage in a pandemic

Updated: May 14, 2020

Imagine that your 2 year old has severe hemophilia. It is a Wednesday night and he cracks his head open simply falling down. Normally, because of his condition, you would go to the emergency room. You know that his condition does not allow blood to clot and even small cuts can be very serious issues.Picture your child bleeding with the realization that you can not go to the emergency room because of the covid-19 pandemic. You spend the night using gauze, sheets, strips and a lot of prayer. You hope that we can see his doctor tomorrow to get the medicine he needs. If you were this child's parents, could you imagine the fear and anxiety that they must go through?

Now, imagine that you are an 89 year old grandmother with stage 4 cancer who has been given only months to live. The care facility you live in has been on lockdown for weeks now. You haven’t been able to hug your grandkids, you haven’t been able to look into your kids eyes. You are starting to realize that you are going to die alone. You know that you should care about Covid-19 and it’s high mortality rate among the people in your facility, but you don’t. You are battling something that is going to 100% kill you. You just want to see the people you love.

What about the 45 year old man who has been depressed since his divorce last year. He had just started going to singles meetups. He had just started to feel like he was making progress and getting happier, just to feel like it all collapsed. On top of that, he can’t even see his therapist in person to help him cope. He slides back into a deeper depression, with nobody noticing because of social distancing.

Imagine a society whose norm is so shattered that they lose their civil rights that they worked so hard to earn. What if your head of state suggested that violators of self quarantines be shot on site? What if your politicians took the opportunity to use the pandemic as a distraction to pass through funding for totally unrelated things.

Imagine getting sick and not knowing if you have the covid-19 virus. Days go by and your cough becomes worse. Your lungs begin to feel like there are glass shards in them. You have tried for days to get in for testing but since you are not on your “deathbed” they will not test you. Isolated, literally feeling like a leper. Thoughts run across your mind, could this have been prevented if I had just stayed at home? Am I going to die? Who else has this infected?

Imagine the 23 year old who says he has nothing to worry about. He goes out and sees his friends and goes about his life. No fucks given. He lives with his fresh out of college nurse girlfriend who he gives the virus to. Neither one of them know that they are affected. His girlfriend then in turn gets the entire 3rd floor cardiac patients sick and a few needlessly die.

Imagine a government who commands you to stay at home but then does not postpone voting because it doesn’t fit their political agenda. Imagine having to choose between having a voice and having your health.

We should know the cost on a large scale before we buy

This pandemic, this society, and this news cycle has come together to form a historic event unlike any other. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions and we are getting fed copious amounts of it through the unlimited number of outlets prepared to shell it out.

What is the cost of the fear that is being spread. The above stories are true somewhere with one of them being very close to me. They are a cost or collateral damage of this pandemic. People not being able to earn a living is a cost. The toll on our mental health is a cost. Loss of our freedoms is a cost. Time itself is a cost.

Is the way that we are handling this pandemic what is logically best for society? And on what time scale? 3 months, 3 years, 30 years? How can we measure what brings the most happiness to society to learn from this historic event and better prepare for future events? Is our goal as a society to just save people from death or to inspire the most life before the inevitable death? Is our fear of death driving these decisions?

When we look at all courses of action let’s understand that all the actions have a cost, and it is ok to have different opinions on what is right.

What do I think is right? Asking these tough questions is right. Read and listen to both sides and get out of the echo chamber your habitual behavior has put you in.

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