COVID Diary – 4/18/20

So far, 700,000 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID 19. Since the first death 7 weeks ago on February 29, there have been 38,779 deaths. That’s roughly 800 per day.

Many who have died were otherwise healthy, relatively young people. Other people have had more mild bouts. The thing is, it’s hard to know whether, if you happen to get it, you’re going to have Premium Ultra Hi-Test COVID or COVID Lite. So, it’s probably best to try not to get it in the first place.

The CDC has done a pretty good job of telling us how to do that. We know that the virus is airborne and highly contagious. We know that people can be infected AND symptom-free. We know the virus can linger on most surfaces for a long time, meaning that being in foreign environments exposes us to endless opportunities for infection.

We also know that, in addition to washing our hands, wearing PPE, and sanitizing anything coming into our living spaces, pretty much the best way to not get sick is…

Wait for it…it’s gonna blow your mind…

STAYING THE FUCK AT HOME.

Because if you do that as much as is humanly possible, you reduce the opportunities for that nasty little virus to come into your space and make you ill.

I know, I know. It’s complicated. It’s almost like you need a Ph.D. to understand the causality. Don’t hate me because I’m brilliant.

So, in order to stay well, all you have to do…all you have to do…is STAY THE FUCK AT HOME.

Perhaps because they have some understanding of the connection between people staying at home and people not getting infected, governors in 42 states have issued omnibus shutdown orders, and 3 have issued partial quarantine mandates. Because they listened to the CDC and thought it best if people would STAY THE FUCK AT HOME.

Now, some people can’t. They have to go to work, because their employers say so, and they desperately need money, because few people can last for more than a few weeks without a steady paycheck. I get that. It would be super cool if those employees were provided with proper PPE and were being paid at a hazard-rate, which is not the case for most, but I get that for some, including my husband, staying home is not an option.

For the health care workers and grocery store employees and mail carriers and truckers and people who are making sure there is food in the stores, water in our pipes, Netflix on our TVs and prescriptions being filled, please accept my deepest gratitude.

And, yeah, some of us have to go out from time to time to pick up food or run some essential errand or just to take a walk in the park for a change of scenery, and that’s fine, too, as long as we wear our masks, maintain our 6’ distance, and keep our visits to retail locations as brief as possible.

It’s called “honoring the social contract,” which I realize is a foreign concept to anyone who moved to this country after January 20, 2016.

But it’s no longer a thing, and I know this because there are actually people out there protesting those “stay at home” orders. They’re out there in Florida, Ohio and Michigan (where traffic actually blocked access to a hospital) demanding that state-mandated quarantine edicts be lifted. NOW.

One has to wonder what these people are thinking: Despite the initial skepticism of more conservative Americans as to how serious, and widespread, COVID 19 would turn out to be, few other than doctors who used to be on Oprah and Fox New commentators seem to doubt just how much of a threat it poses. We already know that in many parts of the country, healthcare for COVID 19 patients has been less than ideal, not because the providers are unqualified (far from it!) but because there’s just not enough – not enough doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, ventilators, beds, masks…you name it. Doesn’t it make sense that we would want to do everything we can to make sure that we keep the numbers as small as possible so that we don’t continue to overtax and already severely burdened system?

“Economic necessity” is a better answer, and I certainly don’t want to pooh-pooh such concerns, although shouldn’t we wonder that most of this country CAN’T miss more than ONE paycheck without facing financial disaster? Is that not concerning, especially in light of the steady stream of GOP tax cuts we have seen year after year, legislation that never helps the poor or middle class build savings and rarely leads to meaningful wage increases?

Do none of these protestors wonder why it is that they are in such dire financial shape? Sure, maybe they overspend and don’t follow a strict budget, but could it be that they live paycheck to paycheck because that’s the state of our economy under a GOP Administration – and always has been?

Or maybe it’s not economic, maybe it’s boredom. Maybe people are tired of sitting at home watching TV. They want to be able to go to Applebee’s and the movies and Old Navy, and to be able to hang out with all of their friends so while they bury their faces in their phones the entire time (you know it’s true), at least they won’t feel lonely. Or maybe they just love their jobs so much that they just can’t wait to get back to them.

But I think the real gist of all of the protests – and the Failing NYT backs me up on this – is that there is a segment of society that just doesn’t like being told what to do because they think they should have the unfettered freedom to be out and about, whenever and wherever they want, mingling and infecting and getting infected, because it’s their decision, and damnit, who is the state to tell them what they can and cannot do with their own bodies???

Which is pretty, pretty ironic when you consider that MOST protesters are GOP/pro-Trump, “pro-life” advocates who absolutely think the state has the right to tell SOME people – pregnant women, that is – what they can and cannot do with their own bodies, but I digress.

But yeah, how dare the government try to tell people what to do? That’s tyranny!!

Well, no, it’s not. The state can regulate a person’s behavior when it puts other people’s lives at risk, which is why free speech has certain limitations, such as the one that says you can’t scream “FIRE!” in a crowded movie house if there is not, in fact, an actual fire.

And the state can make you wear a motorcycle helmet, because it has an interest in not incurring the medical bills for an uninsured cyclist who French-kisses a telephone pole and ends up a quadriplegic.

So if the state would prefer that you stay at home watching reruns of “Ice Road Truckers” or “Marrying Millions” (both excellent choices) in your sweats, its interest in protecting the well-being of others, maximizing access to healthcare to those who cannot self-quarantine, and ending this goddamned, straight-from-hell, kick-me-in-my-dick epidemic as soon as is fucking possible kind of outweighs your interest in being able to gorge yourself on Blooming Onions and steak at Outback after getting your brows waxed, going to the Jojo Siwa concert, and buying new hand towels at Home Goods.

For fuck’s sake.

I’m lucky. I can do my job at home. I continue to earn a paycheck. Two of my 4 daughters are here. My cats and dogs are here. We have plenty of food and toilet paper, and we are healthy. I’m an introvert, and I crave time at home. I miss daughters 1 and 3, and my granddaughter, but I’ll survive. So maybe I just don’t get it.

But I have thought about it, and I have tried to figure it out, and I just don’t seem to get it, so maybe my FB friends can explain it to me.

Thank you.

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