As a lay observer, I am trying to put together some coherent thoughts about the whole situation surrounding Covid 19:
-When I go for a walk on a public trail, I try to greet those I pass by. It seems polite to me. But I value it more now. There’s something really good about acknowledging someone as a human being. And I’m only talking about a nod, a smile, a quick and quiet “hi”. It’s important to remember that this virus doesn’t spread through eye contact.
-Data vs. Triage. There is a problem of calculating the mortality rate of the virus based on testing those who have been sick enough to need medical attention. I can see both sides here. I can understand the logic of conserving resources for those who need medical attention the most. I could also imagine more general logistical challenges with wider spread testing. On the other hand, one of the talking points about this virus is that we don’t know enough about it’s capacity for harm. We are compelled to practice our medical officials’ best guess at what due caution might be, and at the same time we cannot obtain truly comprehensive data on how many people have actually had this virus.
-I have heard that many hospitals are currently sitting well under capacity. Thank God for that.
-Public opinions about about the virus and about the public response seem to follow the usual political lines. Just an observation.
-Speaking of political opinions, what is “the government”? It seems to me like a nebulous collection of agencies and offices rather than a body of actors that is sufficiently coherent and cohesive to execute premeditated puppet mastery over all of society. There probably are some criminal players, as well as misled idealists, but “the government” is given too much credit by supporters and conspiracy theorists alike. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between. Look to them as we may for answers, these are all humans like you and me.
-Do I think that the overwhelming majority of experts and officials are acting with sincere intentions based on the most current information that they can obtain? Yes. Would I be surprised to find out later that there were some corrupt or opportunistic players in high places? No.
-What is the long term plan here? What if another such outbreak were to happen next winter? How long and how often are these shutdown measures sustainable? I get it, this is a contagious respiratory illness whose capabilities are not fully understood. But we are always in danger. Whenever we step out of our houses to do anything, we take a risk. And if you avoid taking risks, then you put your very mental health in danger. Maybe I am taking this argument to a ridiculous place by saying this, but we risk death everyday simply by being alive. I am not trying to be flippant. I acknowledge that if it’s your loved one on the line, all the statistics in the world are garbage. But for this, and many other kinds of battles, top-down control can be a dull, heavy, undiscriminating weapon.
-The economy is not just about the money; it’s about people’s sense of productivity. The economy is a secondary effect of the freedom to interact and communicate, and in the course of that, form mutually beneficial exchanges of value.
-On the flip side of acknowledging the value of an active economy, are we capable of pausing for a month? This shutdown is making me consider how much of my mind, how much of my thinking and planning, assumes as constant the conditions of normal American life. Are we capable of pausing for a month without that pause destroying us economically or psychologically? Are we engaged in society and the economy in a healthy way, or is it a life support system that we can’t break away from? There are many ways by which helpless servitude can sneak into people’s souls, and those ways need not be from the top down in society.
-Finally, I want to acknowledge a scripture I’ve been praying:
1 Timothy 2:1-4
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all Godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”