(I am updating this blog today, in August, based on what has happened and how my thinking has envolved.)
I've been trying to remain calm amidst the insanity surrounding the coronavirus, but Jeepers Creepers! people need to stop and take a breath. Yes, the virus is serious. Yes, we need to take reasonable precautions. But we don't need to buy 400 rolls of toilet paper or wear a gas mask.
And we don't need to have every single media outlet focus on the latest virus "news" 24/7 and scaring people to the point that they can't think straight. Fear doesn't help anybody. Fear is dangerous. When people are frightened, they are easy to persuade to do things they would not normally do. Frightened people are willing to accept unacceptable behavior from their government and other authority figures. Why does Putin need a warship, for example, to deliver "medical supplies" to the US? Since when has Russia been at the forefront of medical supplies? Oh, perhaps since there are trillions of dollars to be doled out due to the virus.
Our chances of surviving the virus are still better than your chances of dying from it -- but people are dying at an alarming rate. That is heartbreaking. But it goes beyond heartbreak to something much worse. I believe it is criminal to misinform people and encourage them to endanger themselves, their families, their friends, and everybody else they pass on the street. And it is definitely criminal to encourage parents to expose their children to possible death in order to try to improve the economy by forcing people back to work, regardless of whether it is safe.
I mentioned in my original post that I thought we needed to keep the numbers in perspective. There are about 331 million Americans. Our government reports on mortality for show that about 3,000,000 of us die each year. At least 600,000 of us die EACH YEAR from heart disease. Cancer kills another 600,000. COPD and strokes take another 320,000. Taking prescription medications as directed kills 128,000. Alzheimer's - 122,000. Diabetes - 85,000. Flu & pneumonia - 59,000. (Please don't send me angry comments about my math - I rounded to the nearest 1000 to keep things simple).
Compared to those statistics, the Coronavirus numbers were tiny-- at first. Minuscule even. 42,000 deaths to date when I first published this blog in April. Those lives matter, of course. But today, in August, there are more than 160,000 deaths. I still think we need to keep the numbers in perspective, so we don't scare people into depression and suicide. But we also need to encourage people to maintain social distance intead of encouraging them to gather in large groups and compain about their rights being violated. Rights are important. But refusing to wear a mask is saying, essentially, I have the right to endanger the health of others for my own personal comfort.
At first, I didn't want to wear a mask, because we had no cases in our county and homemade masks don't protect you from catching the virus. But as the virus continued to rage and ravage America, I realized that I needed to wear a mask for three reasons. First, I could possibly come into contact with the virus and pass it on to somebody else. Second, people are frightened already and seeing people without a mask in public makes them more frightened - high levels of stress make you more vulnerable to illness. Third, I want to set a good example for children who need to see good leadership at this scary time.
Chemical/biological warfare is a reality today. In addition to spending our time and money on this one virus, we need to be looking at the bigger picture of how we can protect our country against similar threats - and new ones that we haven't yet considered. And if we don't protect our voting rights and process, we may not have a country to worry about - at least, not a country that we will recognize as ours.
It does seem that small businesses should be allowed to open, when it is safe - on a town by town basis. Bankrupting thousands or millions of Americans is not going to help the economy. Small businesses in many placess are being crushed - many beyond recovery. What good does it do to take measures to survive a virus that may never appear if it means the people will be impoverished forever once it's safe to breathe again?
Why can't we do what some countries have done to successfully combat the virus - put the responsibility where it belongs - on the people? If we use our heads and consider everybody's health and well-being, we could avoid a lot of the collateral damage that is occuring right now.
OK. I have had my second say on the topic.
Oh, no. Wait. I forgot one thing. Some people laugh at the idea of positive thinking, but I believe (based on experience and research) that your mental outlook has a tremendous affect on your health. If you think about illness all the time, you have a much higher chance of becoming ill. If you focus on maintaining a healthy body and mind, you have a much better chance of enjoying good health.
I wish you good health, peace, calm, compassion and moments of intense joy.