I was wrong.
In a previous article presented here, I did not take Covid-19 as seriously as I should have. I should have taken into my consideration how resoundingly stipid so many persons have proven themselves to be.
Who would go out as before into an environment that offered a very high transmission rate of a fairly serious respiratory illness? Even before we learned how high the mortality rate was, the mere possibility of catching a very debilitating flu, you would think, would encourage all of us to stay away from places and situations where we could catch it.
In that previous article I argued that hysteria seemed to be ruling our news sources. I now realize that “hysteria” may well be a rational response in the face of a population that doesn’t seem to understand simple precautions delivered in English and must, it seems, be scared into proper defensive behavior.
I suggested that the overall rate of illness and death would not be as damaging to us as a population as our yearly sacrifice of limb and life to automobiles. I suspect that I was wrong about that – it looks like the final totals of casualties due to Covid-19 may surpass that over our use of the highways. But whether that proves to be the case or not, Covid-19 has really hurt us.
I listed the same few behaviors we have all heard so often to protect ourselves from Covid-19: wash our hands; avoid anyone coughing or sneezing; stay away from crowds; stay home if we are sick from ANYTHING. The things we seem to find so difficult to do.
In my defense, I thought many of us would follow those suggestions – and I continue to believe if we had Covid-19 would not have been so bad here. But I should have recalled that if we over-react (hyper-hysteria) and we do not get sick, perhaps we look silly; if we under-react (by not following protective guidelines as so many, unaccountably, have not) we get sick, maybe dead.
We have hear of persons, cities, states that refused to recognize the danger of carrying on as normal when normal behavior could subject one to a very serious virus.
We have seen youngsters, totally lacking even the most self-protective impulses, almost dare Covid-19 to attack them. We have even seen parents and other “responsible adults” allow and even finance gatherings of these youngsters that place them in serious jeopardy.
But, that behavior is not simply of the young, is it?
I was wrong to rely on what I had considered rational persons would do in the face of a serious but fairly easily avoided epidemic. Some other guy might have waited to pontificate upon the hysteria that I called out in the media until the actual numbers were in. But if we always reserve our remarks until after the fact, wait until we see how each and every chip has fallen, we are not responsible social commentators, we are simply historians.
I will try to look at the future with a greater appreciation for what I have learned, once again, about human behavior. But I remain adamant that if ALL OF US washed our hands frequently, stayed away from anyone coughing or sneezing, avoided all crowds, and stayed home if we experienced any feelings of illness at all, Covid-19 would not have done to us what it has.
Has it come to pass that the only way to get people to do the right thing in cases such as this is to terrify them by what may happen even if those scary stories are irrational? But if we do we throw in the towel and admit that most of us are fools. Maybe there is a reason, maybe a very good reason to lie and exaggerate for the ultimate good. But what does that do to our (my) expectation to be told the Truth about “other stuff”?
I do not think that trade off is acceptable, even when it is employed in what some may think is the “ultimate good”. But that’s just me. You have a say in this, too. What seems better to you?
Nevertheless, in that previous article in this space I was presumptively inaccurate.
I was wrong.