3 Opinions About COVID-19
It’s the topic of every conversation. It’s the subject of almost every news headline and media story. It’s the reason why I’m here writing this blog at 11:00 in the morning instead of treating patients as a dental hygienist. I mean, maybe I should be thankful. This is the break I couldn’t afford to take; but hey, when there’s an opportunity to develop new skills while taking advantage of government bailouts, you might as well make the best of it, right? I could call this whole thing a blessing in disguise. But that doesn’t mean I’m not tired of hearing the words “coronavirus” or “COVID-19”, or “unprecedented times” or “shelter at home”.
I’ve seen a meme floating around social media that addresses some of the tension arising from disagreements about how to perceive the situation. I agree with it. There are different ways to respond to the pandemic, and a person’s response does not define their depth of morality.
1) The coronavirus is bad, and we shouldn’t be the ones making it worse.
Let’s not get confused here – COVID-19 is a serious problem. It’s a virus that can wreak havoc on those who are at risk. And unfortunately, thousands upon thousands of people have succumbed to it. My heart goes out to the people who have lost family members, who weren’t even able to be with them during their last moments of life. I pray for God’s peace to comfort all who have been affected in this way. I am beyond grateful for the heroes who’ve stepped up and maintained our healthcare facilities, public safety, and access to food. They put themselves at risk to keep things rolling. Thank you!
COVID-19 is an invisible enemy no one suspected. We’re all learning as we go. We can make predictions and build models and set expectations, but the basis of everything is speculation. No one can be perfectly confident of the outcome. I believe that outcome depends on a certain level of personal responsibility. Take care of yourself, because in doing so, you make life better for everyone else.
2) The economy can’t survive a national shutdown.
When this all started, I respected the decision to “slow the spread” and “flatten the curve”. I respected social distancing and frequent handwashing. I even respected takeout dinners and curbside pickups and virtual church services. I respected the fact that I temporarily lost my job. It was tolerable for 15 days, and I appreciated the chance to practice patience when things extended to 30 days. And now, due to state orders, we’re moving close to the 60-day mark. I’m kind of sick of being patient.
This week, four of my coworkers were permanently laid off. When we return to the office (hopefully by the end of the month), I’ll be working fewer hours. My bosses can’t afford to run their practice the way they did before the pandemic hit. I know people who worked as servers. Those are people who don’t work anymore, and many of them don’t have jobs to go back to when this is over. I know people who managed hotels which are now closed, leaving them jobless. I know small business owners who may not be able to even open their doors when the stay-at-home orders are let up. I also know people who aren’t affected in the same way, since they are able to work from home. They might not lose their jobs, which is great! But there’s millions who already have.
All I’m saying is, the long-term effects of a significant drop in commerce aren’t the best.
3) The government is overreaching. This will set a bad precedent for the future.
So, America. Let’s talk about her. The country that was founded in defiance of governmental authoritarianism is facing the same threat centuries later. You may not call the stay-at-home orders authoritarian, and that’s okay. I personally feel like the shutdown of state parks is a bit much. I think police visits condemning parents for allowing their kids to play with the neighbors probably isn’t the best use of taxpayer dollars. I think arresting people for running a business is wrong. Especially when governors enact these orders seemingly on a whim, ignoring the rule of checks and balances.
Some people look at this situation and think, “All we’re being asked to do is stay home. Work from home, get educated at home, just live at home. Use the unemployment insurance and stimulus money to survive, and we’ll be fine.” There are other people that see that as unnecessary government dependence, placing the country on a slippery slope downhill. In my opinion, I was thankful for the emergency assistance when I needed it, when I lost a majority of income due to federal and state recommendations. It made sense to me – I paid into it, and then I needed it, so I took it. The story changed after the weekly benefit surpassed what I needed to pay the bills. People in the same situation could ask, “Why go back to work when I can stay on unemployment and get paid more?” That’s a little sketchy right there.
Personally, I like a limited government. I feel like it’s getting a bit heavy right now. It’s only American to be concerned about this new precedent; we’re naturally skeptical when it comes to who holds the most power in the equation.
When this thing is done (and it will end), there’s no going back to normal. Take the time now to prepare yourself for the new normal. The whole world has changed, in the same way it changed after events like 9/11 and WWII. Those experiences have proven that we are capable of adapting to change, that we can do what it takes to live life fulfilled. And also, please be careful about what you say on social media. Take a second before you post – just think about life from another point of view. If you’re like me, you’ll want to have friends to hang with at the “Quarantine Is Over” parties, so don't burn them.