On Saturday Brad called me from AZ to ask me how things were going and suddenly, out of nowhere, I was bawling my eyes out — to the point where I couldn’t even utter a coherent sentence.
Was it just 2 weeks of isolation or something more?
Brad kept asking me to repeat what I was saying because I was babbling through the tears and he couldn’t understand me. I was shocked at the depths of my grief. I am not a weepy person (as all of my friends will attest) so this was really unnerving for me.
What set me off over the weekend was hearing about so many people losing their jobs and livelihoods. In many cases, these are people who have given their all to build small businesses and poof! just like that, it’s all gone.
It brings back vivid, scary memories of how it went down for me in 2010 when I closed my business in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis (and before that having weathered the dotcom crash and the horror of 9/11). However, none of those situations were remotely like this. I was able to survive with some serious belt-tightening. But you can’t tighten your belt when they’ve taken away your pants. What’s happening now will take years to recover from, both for large and small businesses. Millions of jobs lost.
So why am I going out on a limb to write this post?
- I’m just gutted about what this shutdown has done to employment and small businesses in this country. I’m retired so I’m not bitching for myself but so many friends who lost their jobs at the blink of an eye now find themselves with zero funds for basics like food and rent. They worked their tails off and to me, it looks like no consideration was given to them and how they were going to survive. It was almost like grandstanding by our local politicians to show us how important it was to them to be able to say they’ve “saved even one life.” And now, double whammy. After it looked like Washington was going to push through a much needed stimulus package for workers and small businesses, we get a big fat NOTHING!
- I definitely feel manipulated by people like our mayor (and to a lesser extent our governor) who are going all out to have me buy into their hysteria. And I’m cynical about their solutions. The goal is clearly to terrify people to the point where none of us raise any questions about whether shutting the whole city down is the best solution – especially when they know exactly who will be hit hardest by the virus.
I know I think differently than many of you about these issues.
For example, to me coronavirus is less scary than having a 20-30% unemployment rate. However, that doesn’t mean I’m being foolish. I am self-isolating, social distancing and I am scrubbing my hands dozens of times a day.
And I am 70 so fully aware that I have a target on my back for coronavirus based on the average age of Italy’s victims (78.5) as well as Germany’s (82). Knowing this information actually makes me less anxious because I know I have to be extra vigilant about taking care of myself. I’m playing the odds but with 80% of cases mild, I believe the odds are still in my favor. But it seriously makes me wonder why we aren’t being more strategic about who should be isolated and protected.
Which is why I want facts to balance out the panic.
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Questions I have:
- How do we decide what deaths warrant this kind of complete shutdown and economic destruction? For example, over 40,000 people a year in America die in car accidents and yet we’re not clamoring to shut down the automobile industry. I’m not being glib about this but I am curious to know what makes one situation so alarming versus other things that routinely kill us.
- Why does the media insist on reporting cases that have tested positive as though they were death sentences? And they do this even when WHO has stated time and again that most Americans will get the virus and therefore, will test positive but 80% of those cases will be mild. The media clearly has a stake in creating a certain kind of coronavirus hysteria to keep us tuned in 24/7. And note, it’s working, most of my younger friends are 100% convinced that if they get “it” they will assuredly die.
- Why are people clogging up hospitals to get tested, when WHO says 80% of COVID19 cases are mild enough that people should just stay home for 2 weeks as they would for a bad cold? In Japan, for example, health officials have said: “We don’t see a need to use all of our testing capacity, just because we have it. Neither do we think it’s necessary to test people just because they’re worried.”
Mortality figures to keep in mind as a comparison to coronavirus
- 60 million people overall are expected to die in 2020 (worldwide)
- That’s 5 million per month
- 165,000 per day
- By comparison, 15,000 people worldwide have died of coronavirus since December.
- For context, more than 20 million people have died worldwide in that same 4 month period.
In the United States:
- 2.7 million people die in an average year
- 7,452 people per day
- 1 person every 12 seconds.
- Total deaths from coronavirus nationwide (as of 3/23/20) are at 400.
- In NYC, there were 154,000 deaths annually (as of 2015)
- 420 per day with heart disease and cancer as leading causes.
- Total deaths from coronavirus in NYC for the month of March: 100
I want to start seeing more context around coronavirus statistics with much more detail on who gets it, who recovers and who dies. I refuse to be manipulated into a frenzy of worry by information that is not sufficiently detailed.
It appears that the most at-risk people are older (like me) and those with certain underlying health issues, I suggest that for the good of the nation, we figure out a way to protect or quarantine my group vs. shutting down the whole country and sacrificing the economy for us. I appreciate the gesture but I can’t believe that is the best solution.