This is in part a response to Wyatt Emmerich’s column from May 7 (“Experiment over; let’s return to normal”).
It is becoming increasingly distressing to witness the cavalier attitude that certain people are having toward the current pandemic. It is tiring to see how these same certain people believe that the coronavirus is something of an extended holiday for working people. They behave as if the people who are out of work no longer want to go to work. This is untrue.
None of these people wanted to miss work. They would like very much to go back to work, but they do not want to die. This appears to be something that is desired by others for some reason. I’m sure it is a fine thing to live in some sort of rarefied state where one does not have to be concerned about such trifles as a mere pandemic, but most people don’t have that luxury.
The pandemic is not over because states are reopening and lowering protective protocols. The death tolls in states that have reopened are still rising. But apparently this is seen as OK, because if states are reopened, then we will have “normal life.” A life in which people are dying from a virus that has no adequate form of treatment or vaccine is not normal. I am wondering how this definition of “normal” was arrived at.
These same people are also referring continuously to this pandemic not being as bad as the 1918 flu epidemic. The reason for that was because of the shutdowns that were put in place against the coronavirus. During the 1918 epidemic, there was no mitigation of the flu, because troop ships and barracks were packed and there were no protocols in place for separation of troops to avoid transferring the virus to each other. The soldiers brought it home from Europe, and it spread. Millions died. Much less than that have died during this pandemic because of the shutdowns. We have not reached the million mark yet, but I doubt that we want to. We will not be viewed by history as winners because our country has more dead than any other.
Also, most people, young or old, are not willing to die for the sake of “the economy.” I hate to say this, but to many people in this country, “the economy” is a nebulous quantity. People may be willing to give their lives for their homes, countries, families, children and other quantities that, unlike “the economy,” are not abstract. I am doubtful that people will give their lives because a small number of wealthy people and businessmen in this country will not become any wealthier if they don’t.
Perhaps the worst attitude has been toward older people. It seems that some are perfectly OK with the idea of older people dying as long as we return to “normal life.” Let’s explain it like this: If a piano falls on Granny, she is likely to have mixed feelings about the situation. Therefore, relatives lift the piano off of Granny, and Sunday lunch continues. If Granny discovers that it is considered an OK thing for her to catch a deadly virus with a high potential for death as long as others can return to “normal life,” she is likely to have mixed feelings about this situation, too. Granny may have other ideas. She may wish to hang around a while longer to continue attending Wednesday bridge games or catch up with the new season of “Riverdale.” Again, most people will not give up their lives for a nebulous quantity.
Finally, there is the last sentence of Mr. Emmerich’s column: “Before we leave a suffocating debt burden to our children, let’s regain our confidence, overcome our hypochondria and get back to living normal lives.”
We have already left our children with staggering debt because the shenanigans of our leaders have raised the national deficit to the trillion mark, so there’s that. And I have my doubts as to whether 70,000 dead victims of coronavirus could be rightfully called “hypochondriacs.”