I’m not confused about the virus. It’s highly contagious and deadly for many people, and the way to contain it is to stay home.
I’m confused about the economics of it, though.
The WHO has laid out a set of requirements for reopening businesses.This is where we should be before we do that:
- COVID-19 cases are controlled
- This means that there are few new cases, and no more than the healthcare system can handle.
- The healthcare system is ready
- There must be a sufficient workforce to find, test, and care for current and new cases of COVID-19.
- Outbreak risks in high-vulnerability situations are minimized
- This means that places where the disease can spread easily have plans in place to maintain social distancing and reduce the spread of infection. This could include churches, restaurants and nightclubs, gyms, theaters, and other crowded places.
- Workplaces have preventive measures in place
- Workplaces should open only when they are ready to protect their workers. This could involve staggering shifts to reduce crowding, providing workers with PPE like masks and hand sanitizers, and checking workers’ temperatures before they start their shifts. Hand washing and physical distancing should be easy for workers.
- Travelers are under control
- There should be measures in place to ensure that people from coronavirus hotspots are monitored. Travelers should be tested and quarantined as necessary to reduce the spread of the virus through travel.
- Communities are participating
- Community members must be informed and engaged when it comes to safety. Use of masks, physical distancing, and careful hygiene are understood and accepted in the community as a whole.
Frankly, this doesn’t describe our state, or any of our states. So why are we opening up?
Here are some explanations, from Facebook:
- The government wants to kill us. “What would we do differently if we really, really understood that it was their goal to literally allow the US population to be decimated (that is -reduced by 10%) ?”
- The states can’t pay the huge rates of unemployment compensation. If businesses reopen, then they won’t have to pay people who choose to stay home from work for their safety.
- If we wait till it’s actually safe to resume normal functioning, we will face famines. “We simply can’t afford to stay home.”
These can’t all be true. Even the second choice, which seems kind of plausible, also seems ridiculous. How much savings could there be if people start getting sick and dying instead of just staying home waiting for unemployment checks?
Some industries are suffering and some are thriving. Some are just about the same as before. I can see that there will be major disruption, but that’s not the same as famine. Pestilence isn’t a good trade for famine, anyway.
I think a good reason to reopen businesses would be because we have vanquished coronavirus, as New Zealand apparently has. I don’t think any reasonable person is saying that.
It would be nice if we had reasonable people in charge who could tell us when it would be safe to go back out and visit bookstores and hug our children and cuddle our grandchildren.
Instead, we have loons and buffoons randomly sending us out to see how many people die before they resume their normal lives.
I woke suddenly early this morning with this sentence clearly in my mind, as though I had said it aloud: “I’m really not okay.”
Actually, I have no reason to complain. I am okay. I had food, shelter, and clothing, contact with other people via plentiful modern technology, and I am completely healthy.
But I think I am experiencing a lot of stress. Maybe that’s reasonable.