My Thoughts On COVID-19 And The Second Wave
In the US and some other places around the world a second serious wave is happening with COVID-19. We are seeing businesses and activities have to shut down again after months of limitations have already reduced things to a point some are having to close their doors for good. It is interesting watching how people react to changes like this. The outrage and the arguments people have over certain policies are truly astonishing. Yes all of this sucks but the more people don't follow the simple guidelines the longer this continues to spread. You look at countries around the world and some have enacted far stricter policies but they have essentially wiped out the disease and they have mechanisms to quickly identify and contain things before they get out of hand. In America that is never going to happen because we like our freedoms too much.
This virus is going to continue to be a problem until an effective vaccine is available and distributed to the majority of the population. The timeline for things to truly start returning to normal is likely another year from now. Nobody likes the sound of that and nobody wants to continue to see things shut down for another year. So what are we going to do about it? We each make choices every day which impact people around us. These are some of the facts and concepts I go by in helping me make the right choices, not just for me, but for my family, friends and all of the people I come into contact with.
- COVID-19 is serious and should be treated as such. I've heard the arguments it is just like the flu and it isn't that serious. For some it isn't serious and they might test positive without showing any symptoms. Nobody ever said this virus impacts everyone the same. There is still a lot we don't know about why it hits some people harder than others. I don't want to risk myself or the people I love being one of those cases that become more serious than the rest. I've heard plenty of stories of people who have had the virus and were out of commission for about a week. They don't go to the hospital, they don't have any serious risks, but that still sounds like it is pretty miserable. The worst flu I've had in my life didn't keep me knocked down for a week.
- Hospitals can't adequately care for those that are serious at the rate we are going. For those that do become serious, there are treatments that can increase your chances of survival. The problem is there are not enough hospital beds, doctors or nurses to adequately care for everyone. It becomes a battlefield MASH unit or ER where they focus on those in the worst condition but they still believe can be saved. It comes to a point where they could save more but they can't possibly handle the levels that are coming in and about to get worse.
- We still don't know what the long term implications are. We are starting to see information and studies where there is decreased lung capacity, heart function and mental capacities. We see things like HIV that never is eradicated from the body or how chicken pox can manifest as shingles in a person years later. We don't know what may happen 5 to 10 years after contracting it so why risk what we don't know?
- Wear a mask. This one baffles me because I see high school and college athletes wearing a mask and competing but privileged American's can't wear one for 15 minutes while they grab a few groceries. Some will argue that masks aren't effective, that the size of the Coronavirus can get through the vast majority of the masks people wear every day. Nobody ever claimed that if you wear a mask you are 100% guaranteed to never catch it. It does reduce your chances of catching or spreading it if you have it compared to if you don't. Even if it improves the odds by 1% that is still worth a minor inconvenience if I can have a better chance of not catching it. And when you wear it you need cover your mouth AND nose. The best analogy to me is wearing a seatbelt. If you wear a seatbelt you don't guarantee you won't die in a car accident but you greatly increase your odds of surviving. We've all accepted it as the law and I know people who found it oppressive when it was started.
- Social distance. The mask isn't 100% effective, so we try to increase our odds even more by staying away from other people as much as we can. The further away you are, the amount of time with them, the size of the space you are in and the airflow within the space all contribute to the odds of contracting COVID-19. If you don't need to go somewhere don't. I haven't been into my office and seen my co-workers in person for a year. It sucks but there is no reason I have to go so I'm not going to risk myself or others just because it would be nice.