Seven months and the people are tired. They want their lives back. You know the ones they always complained about on Facebook. They want to be able to go back to the gyms that they only go to the first month of the year because they resolved to lose weight and get healthy. But mostly they want to be able to do whatever they want when they want. I never thought I could be embarrassed by my fellow countrymen and women, but I am.
But I’ve got a newsflash for you. The Pandemic is not over.
As of the writing of this piece, we’ve had almost one hundred and eighty-five thousand (185,000) deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. Since everyone likes to tout comparisons to the flu, according to the CDC, there were sixty-two thousand (62,000) deaths last year. If you were sick with the flu on that day, your teacher taught you what number is bigger. It’s 185,000.
I know I’m being heavily sarcastic, and it’s intentional because I want to get your attention. I want all the armchair scientists who barely passed freshman physical science to read this. The Coronavirus isn’t going anywhere until we have a vaccine, and the vast majority of the population receives it. You can still get sick, and yes, you can even die. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already had it, like the flu, you can catch it again.
No, I’m not a fear monger. I’m someone who has studied the sciences at the college level. I understand how herd immunity works. I know how vaccines work. I’ve studied the complexities of human anatomy. When the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention tell me to wear a mask, wash my hands, and hope, you can bet that’s what I’m going to do. Because the scientists at the CDC have spent their lives studying viruses, and guess what? I have not.
The most dangerous thing in the world right now is the person who believes that they know more than a scientist.
I understand wanting the quarantine to be over. This year feels like the year where nothing happened. A typical summer for me would have included travel to visit my family back East. But that was canceled because some of my relatives are expecting, and traveling across the country would put them at unnecessary risk. I could have been selfish and went anyway. My need for normal outweighing their right to a well-born child, but I decided to think about others.
And that’s the problem with all of the people who want their life back to normal right now because the Pandemic hasn’t affected them yet. But it will.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 94% of the population of the United States would have to get Covid-19 for herd immunity to work. And if you’re anything like me, that percentage means nothing to you. I need real numbers.
Right now, as of this writing, the U.S. population is 331,002,651, so that means 311,142,491 people would have to get Covid-19. As of today, we’ve only had 6 million cases. We need a lot more, and that means that you might catch it, or your partner, or your child, your best friend, your parents, or your neighbor. And anyone of those people could die or be perfectly fine.
I’m don’t like to play Russian Roulette for a reason, because in the end, someone almost always dies. And that death is always unnecessary.
The knowledge of that fact gives me pause and it boggles my mind right now how parents could be so adamant that their children have to go back to school. I understand people have to go back to work and earn a living. I get it. I know we have to pay for all the stuff we thought we needed and couldn’t afford. I understand that no one told us we had to play the what-if game and plan for a global pandemic in addition to funding our IRAs for a rainy day. And yet, here we are. We’re all trying to do our best and be global citizens. But are we really?
The mentality that views the death of any child as collateral damage is one that I can’t subscribe to no matter how urgent my need is to get back to “normal.”
What happened to doing what is right for the greater good?
We all seem so fixated on numbers that prove what we want to hear that we seem to ignore the truth. Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere. Our lives will be forever different because of it. The normal we want to return to so badly doesn’t exist anymore. That life died back in March, and you can’t resuscitate what’s already dead. All you can do is learn how to live without it.
That’s where we are now. We’re at the point where we can return to work some of the time. In some states, we can return to school a few days a week. But if we have our cake and eat it too, we might be right back where we were last April, and we’d have no one to blame but ourselves.
We can’t just cancel a pandemic because we’re bored.
We can’t make a decision that affects hundreds of millions of lives just because we want to go out to eat in a crowded restaurant on a Friday night. That’s not how this works, and the assumption that it should work that way is not only selfish; it’s pathological. There’s something inherently wrong with a person who believes that just because they feel a certain way or consider a different truth that the entire world should fall in line.
You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to believe the numbers. You can subscribe to any conspiracy theory you’d like to. I don’t care. But when the actions of the many interfere with the lives of thousands, someone has to draw the line. Someone needs to stand up and remind people of the empathy that they should have. Someone needs to ask the question, what happened to you?
What happened to you to strip you of your empathy?
What happened to you that caused you not to care about anyone other than yourself?
Because until we can answer those questions, collectively, nothing is ever going to change. You’ll have people still screaming on one side of the aisle that it’s their right not to listen to the CDC while at the same time people like me are mitigating their risk. Protecting you so can protest your right not to do it. We’re controlling your levels of exposure, so you don’t have to, and do we get a thank you. No, we get ridiculed and called sheeple by the very people we’re protecting.
But I’ll keep doing it. I’ll keep protecting myself and you because it’s the right thing to do. It’s not noble or virtuous. I’m not a saint, and neither are you. I’m just a fellow human on a planet with other humans whose lives are just as important as mine. And I genuinely believe that, and I practice it every day.
This past year has been one we’d all like to forget. But if we continue to stick our heads in the sand and operate as if the world isn’t in crisis, we run the risk of not learning anything from this experience. And we’re better than that. Let this be the year we all learned the importance of caring about our neighbors. This can be the year where the history books will record how America experienced a renaissance.
Let’s renew interest in our humanity. We need to become the united community we were in the past before we let all the evils of the world seep in. I know we’re capable of it. I’ve seen the outpouring of community we’re capable of when disaster hits. But this time, we have to do it for the long haul, and it’s hard, but we’re Americans. We are all descendants of people who had immeasurable amounts of grit in their blood.
To all the people who want to make America great again, this is how you start. Love one another. That is all.