Question: If we – The American Public – reach consensus in acknowledging that Corporate America is a). “In this together …” with us; b). Are doing everything they can to recognize our “Heroes on the Home Front“; and c) Are willing to do “whatever is necessary” to serve our needs during the COVID-19 crisis, can we dispense with the endless commercials “celebrating” our “shared experiences” in being incredibly annoyed and monumentally bored?!?
At this point, what Corona America needs right now is relief from the endless Corporate Corona Imaging efforts!
So how do I really feel about the COVID-19 crisis?
Like a lot of us, I am pretty fed up with the restrictions, the draconian measures and – as you can tell from the above – flat out getting annoyed with the perpetual message that “Golly gee … Ain’t this a wonderful Community-building opportunity?!?”
As for the crisis itself, I do not presume to know more than scientists and medical experts. However, based on 64 years experience on this planet, I can offer several rational checks on the emotional responses and the measures taken to protect
My biggest issue here is the premise that ALL people need protecting. That could be either a pragmatic, experience-based point-of-view or a cynical, sick-of-this-crap response. You decide.
The following might help …
- Never in my life has anything even remotely similar occurred, where everyday normal life functions have been curtailed by quarantining the entire populace.
- Swine flu, avian flu, H1N1, Asian flu (Was not considered “racist” at the time.), Hong Kong flu (ditto) never resulted in responses this restrictive and severe.
- Is it really statistically possible that there has not been a similarly threatening flu or virus flying around the globe since the 1918 Spanish flu. (Something I really have a very difficult time accepting!)
- People die of flu-type and viral illnesses every year.
- “Overall, the CDC estimates that 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 can be blamed on the flu. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year.”
- “This year’s flu season is shaping up to be possibly less severe than the 2017-2018 season, when 61,000 deaths were linked to the virus. However, it could equal or surpass the 2018-2019 season’s 34,200 flu-related deaths.”
- In general, it’s the same people, who are most likely to die, regardless of the viral type or its virility. The elderly, the very young, those with preexisting illnesses are always the most susceptible.
- There are no proven effective measures at stopping a potent flu or virus from spreading, not locally, nationally, or globally.
Now here’s where my particular brand of cynical pragmatism might get me in trouble with some people.
Exactly what has been gained by shutting down society; crippling economies; and threatening the very subsistence (e.g. meat packaging) of our healthy population? We still have thousands of the elderly dying from COVID-19, despite the measures taken to protect them. In some cases, the very decisions made by government authorities under the powers bestowed upon them under COVID-19 protocols killed more of the institution-bound elderly!
From the perspective of societal evolution, it’s is always the old, the infirm, the weak, and the very young who are most likely to succumb to such health threats. Does that change in any way by forcing everyone into isolation?
And what of the biology of the healthy? We know that the human immune system works to evolve by creating antibodies when new biological threats present themselves. How is this being affected through attempts to keep everyone from being exposed? How does such an approach help should – as some predict – this virus recycles itself as it circles the globe?
Sweden has taken a very different approach to the corona virus, where the social, economic, and vulnerability issues appear more balanced, based on risk assessments and folkvett, a cultural concept that roughly translates to “good manners”, that – colloquially – can be expressed as “act like an ******* adult”. And although some express caution or even open derision at Sweden’s strategy, their objections are largely based on the lack of sufficient statistical data to support the strategy and emotional responses to the threat to vulnerable populations.
In my humble opinion, if you take Emotion out of the risk assessment equation, the Swedish example sounds like a much more pragmatic approach. And let’s recall how often Sweden is elevated as a shining example of sound socialist healthcare management! If such is the case, why do efforts to behave closer to the Swedish model meet so much resistance, particularly in our more liberal states?
Risk, fear and emotion will be the biggest obstacles as we emerge from quarantine. My biggest fear – given how risk-adverse politicians are – is the potential for monumentally slow and tentative decisions on how best to get back to normal (whatever “normal” will look like). Many politicians – in their interests to remain employed as public
servants benefactors – may very well approach every COVID-19 decision as a three-sided puzzle (please everyone, risk nothing, minimize emotional responses).
Under such circumstances, a productive and fair balancing act is not impossible. Attempting to avoid any and all losses, which are inevitable, will retard the recovery and accomplish nothing more than prolonging the pain for those for whom normal life means survival (hands-on, in-person workers; small businesses; retail, bar and food employees; personal service providers; etc.)
What the authors neglected to leave out is Perspective, in favor of attempts at triggering Emotion and Fear. As in … If – as this model suggests – Pennsylvania deaths were to increase to 8600, the overall death-per-capita in Pennsylvania (pop. 12.7 million) would be 0.068%.
Those whose health is compromised or threatened we must continue to protect, but frankly, that should have been the primary focus all along, not necessarily a total societal shutdown. It’s always the duty of the healthy to be mindful of the vulnerable with whom they will have contact (family members, friends, coworkers, etc.). COVID-19 did not change what is – should be – a modicum of human decency.
Put another way, we should prudently reopen the country, especially in less dense population areas (e.g. suburban communities) and demand that people act like adults! Now THAT would be an effective use endless Corporate Corona messaging!
And if this proves too difficult a concept for some to grasp, then maybe Society will benefit from their absence on the evolutionary ladder!