I know people are afraid right now because we are going through something together no one on Earth has previously dealt with. What happens next health-wise and economically (in my opinion)?
Obviously I’m not a doctor, but universally, I hear it sounds like most people will have a normal flu experience. If you’re reading this, you’re statistically ok. In people over 70, it’s a rough experience. Kids are not as affected.
The issue is that it spreads exponentially. So not 2, 4, 6, 8 cases. It’s 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. It pops all of the sudden and that’s expected within two weeks. When that happens in an area, hospitals that are normally at 100% capacity all of the sudden see needs at something like 500% capacity. That means breathing machines (it’s a lung virus) and beds are sparse. THIS is the deadly part. Doctors are then forced to remove life support for savable patients to keep a younger or healthier person alive. That’s a horrible, yet avoidable, situation.
Shortness of breath seems to be the hallmark symptom versus the normal flu or allergies. I am not saying “don’t go to the doctor and get tested.” To spare those in grave situations, get tested or seek help when you really need it. I am concerned there will be a rush to get tested due to a scratchy throat and it will make the spread worse.
If I get it, I am only seeking medical treatment if I really need it. There’s no cure and there’s nothing they can do for a mild case. There’s no need for staff resources to be used on a 36 year old healthy male with a fever. Antibiotics treat bacteria and not viruses. Taking them when you don’t need them could potentially be harmful in other ways.
The ONLY way to keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed is through separation. A communicable disease needs community. Every single person reading this is part of the solution. Every single one of us must make a sacrifice for the good of our loved ones and our neighbors. For some that sacrifice is forgoing events we love and being bored at home.
For others, it’s going to be a much greater sacrifice. Economically, this just became a very hard year for many of the economically disadvantaged. The Federal government will float some stimulus, but with the size of our population, it’s a drop in the bucket for most. As we’ve seen with testing, the government is ill equipped to help us in serious ways. We must choose to voluntarily choose to help people in the need in the coming months.
Does that mean offering childcare for healthcare workers? Extra food for the family next door that you know is struggling? Donating extra to charities that are on the front lines but have dropping income due to tightening budgets by corporate sponsors? Looking after an elderly neighbor? Everywhere we turn, someone is going to need help in the coming weeks and months. Our souls will be enriched and our communities will be stronger by answering this call.
With talks of mandatory shut downs, there’s a lot of concern. It’s been done everywhere else, and it’s why I’ve been actively encouraging you to stay in unless you’re buying a 2-3 week cushion of goods and food to supplement your trips to the store. I believe we will see two-week quarantines at first. We are not special or immune because we are Americans. This is happening. If there are shut downs, I think grocery stores, banks, pharmacies and hospitals would stay open. You will be able to get food. You only need a cushion. You don’t need to take more than you need. Inventory unsold is often given to local food banks by companies like Walmart and Kroger. If you take too much and it rots, the people that need it the most may not get it.
Depending on the jurisdiction, we will have the ability to walk around, visit friends and family, and go to work in some cases. I think governments will start with two week time frames (within a week) and then evaluate before lifting the emergency declarations. It’s possible some levels of forced quarantine will happen for months based on my conversations.
As a libertarian, I’m wildly uncomfortable with this. I also see the bars full. There couldn’t be clearer information on what not to do and many people are choosing to leave others vulnerable. It’s going to be a logical leap for local officials to use force when voluntary choices aren’t made because they don’t want to be seen doing nothing. It’s better to choose to do the right thing than to be forced into it.
This is not permanent. This is not Marshall law. It’s not being welded shut in your home with tanks rolling through the streets. The military is being activated because in times of emergencies, the Guard and active duty help swamped local agencies with manual labor. They’re also planning MASH units at local hospitals to help local health care systems. If I’m wrong then you can clown me in the FEMA camps for it.
The bottom line is that this is not the end times. This can be a great opportunity to bond with neighbors and family in a way our modern, busy lifestyle often prevents. It’s a moment to pause, rest, read, relax, volunteer, exercise and build relationships with people we often feel disconnected to. We should move past the anxiety of losing routines and embrace the chance to try some different things. Things will return to “normal” eventually.