Two of the most truthful statements that I’ve heard on various news casts lately were “We just don’t know” and “We’re making it up as we go along”. Those were honest responses made by State-level bureaucrats in recent news show interviews in responses to questions about what happens next and how Federal financial aid programs were being implemented.
While one can get weary hearing terms and phrases like “unprecedented”, “extraordinary” and “never in my lifetime”; the fact it that the current situation is one that very few have been alive long enough to remember having experienced. The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was the last comparable event. So, honest confusion about what to do is understandable. We are all making this up as we go along.
Honest confusion about what to do next should not be compared with the overt stupidity being displayed by those who would ignore the threat and get everybody back to work immediately. Idiots running around in large crowds with “Liberate Michigan” signs represent only the lunatic fringe of society, so self-centered and unconcerned about others that they would put us all at risk.
The paper today had a story about the impact of the Stay Home order on the tourist industry in the northern part of the state, specifically in Mackinaw City. While the lack of tourist traffic will be a severe hardship for the businesses that depend on the million –plus visitors to Mackinaw Island each year, the business owners there ae more concerned about loosening the restrictions too soon and putting their communities at risk. Some were even quoted in interviews stating that they might not reopen their stores or restaurants if the Stay at Home order is lifted too quickly. They are rightfully concerned about travelers from other parts of the country bringing the virus with them.
Fear, anger and ignorance seem to be driving the push to reopen all businesses right away. Some of that is understandable even if not acceptable. The response at the Federal level has been pathetic and states were unprepared for something this big. Perhaps the states that have decided to open up starting next week will show us all whether that is a good idea.
We’ve already seen the impact that a stupid mayor in New Orleans had on spreading the disease and turning his city into a hot spot. Later he said. “Gee, I didn’t know that letting people gather in large crowds for Marti Gras would spread the disease.” Well, Duh! Maybe the Governors of the states that are rushing to reopen can dust off that lame excuse. It’s unfortunate that the states surrounding those states can’t close their borders and prevent travel from those states.
For most of us, honest confusion is almost inevitable. We are bombarded daily with conflicting views from politicians and government leaders about what has been done and what needs to be done. The messages from medical professionals has remained consistent, focused upon social distancing and personal hygiene. Their goal all along was to try to slow the spread enough to allow an unprepared health system to keep up. Others in that industry have been working to find effective treatments for the sick and to develop a vaccine for the future.
As much as those healthcare professionals appreciate the “clap outs” and supportive signs that they see, they are more concerned with the movement to open the economy back up too soon. They know that our healthcare industry cannot sustain the intense level that they have been operating at for the last month or so. A second wave outbreak of the virus, precipitated by getting people back to work and back to public gatherings too soon, will break the system and the people within it.
The question now becomes one of, “Who will we listen and follow?” Will elected leaders who have little real understanding of the situation and no scientifically defensible rationale for their decisions cave into the loud voices of the angry mobs demanding the right to get sick and to be allowed to sicken others? Will common sense prevail or will we all be exposed to the unmasked and loud, virus spreading shouts of the ignorant? Should the connector on their signs be changed from “Live Free or Die” to “Live Free and Die”? Let’s watch what happens in Georgia and see; before we make the same mistake in Michigan.
In the meantime – let’s all stay home, wear masks and gloves in public and wash our hands often. There’s little to be confused about in that.