Plague Isolation: Day 36

Five weeks. Five weeks of being home almost all the time. Five weeks of trying to find groceries (which is getting harder). Five weeks of listening to politicians make statements.

For example, a handful of politicians (and pundits) have come out and stated that the stores and businesses should all be reopened and we just accept the consequences. That people should be willing to die to uphold our way of life, and many are ready to make that sacrifice. That perhaps the number who die will be less than the number of those currently unemployed, and that will make it worthwhile.

On the other side, you have the people still working at the various businesses that are open who are very publicly complaining about how going to work each day puts their lives at risk. It’s hard to social distance from coworkers and customers in the same building.

And apparently there are even those that say we should live like this forever — only ever interacting when absolutely necessary.

For the first group, dying for your country might seem noble enough if under attack from others. Only, this isn’t a war with a foreign country out to destroy our democracy and capitalism. It’s an indiscriminate, invisible invader that will kill people without thought, without concerns for morals, without a care for how rich or poor you are. It is terribly contagious; people are giving it to each other — so, Americans giving it to Americans, and giving it most likely unknowingly. In a work environment if everyone gets sick, even if no one dies, the business still can’t operate.

To the workers, I understand your stress right now. Because too many people act like there is absolutely nothing wrong and no reason for them to be even slightly more considerate of others now than they (I assume) usually are. Then there are the panic buyers, filling up their carts with way more than they truly need, causing product shortages. If a customer needs assistance with something, how do you do so from six feet away? How do you deal with the people who can’t seem to cover their mouths and noses when sneezing and coughing? To face this every day has to take its toll mentally and physically. But remember that you are necessary, and you are providing all of us a great service, so thank you for hanging in there.

To those wanting to stay like this — well, I don’t think that’s possible. Ignoring the economic impact it would have (and is presently ravaging us — not just stores shut down, but also public entertainment like concerts, sports, and so forth), think of the actual human impact. We are, by nature, social beings. (Well, most of us. Some of us are misanthropes.) For the most part, we crave interactions with others that is in person, not digitally. While all these restrictions are bothersome, they are apparently helping us in the short term by keeping the number of new infections in check to some degree, but long term I just don’t think it would be remotely feasible before everyone just starts snapping and holding massive parties in defiance.

Normally I would say the answer should be somewhere in the middle of all the noise. In this crisis, though, I’m not sure where the answer lies. The economy is important, the workers are important, everyone’s life and livelihood is important.

So best of luck to all of us, cause we need it right now. Though it might be cliche to say, hopefully one day this too shall pass.

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