Health officials predicted last March the COVID-19 pandemic would create disruptions in the day-to-day lives of Americans. Following President Trump’s example, many Americans dismissed the experts and went about their routines.
Then virus cases exploded, hospitals were overrun and people continue to die in staggering numbers.
Nobody likes the disruptions the outbreak has wrought, but many of us accept reality and take the necessary steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and those with whom we come into contact.
Then there are others who view these precautions as an affront to their rights as American citizens. At least that’s what they claim. But I suspect they just don’t like the inconveniences. They want a return to “normal” immediately while forgoing even the simplest sacrifices that must be made during these difficult days.
I encountered such person on Facebook last week, who posted a laundry list of petty grievances and bizarre rationalizations for why the precautions medical experts prescribe are unnecessarily burdensome. Here are some highlights with my responses in parenthesis:
“Anyone out there who can tell me what our end game is with COVID-19? What is the magic formula that is going to allow us to sound the all clear?”
(I can and it’s simple: there is no “magic formula.” The best we can do is follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines and persevere until an effective vaccine is developed and thoroughly tested).
“We already have a growing number of anti-vaxxers refusing proven, tested, well-known vaccines that have been administered for decades but aren’t necessarily safe! Do you really think people will flock to get a fast-tracked, quickly tested vaccine, whose long-term side effects and overall efficacy are anyone’s guess?”
(Translation: Vaccines can’t be trusted, so why bother developing one for COVID-19, especially if anti-vaxxers won’t take it?).
“You aren’t doing in-person school until second quarter? What if October’s numbers are the same as August’s? You moved football to spring? What if next March is worse than this one was? When do we decide the quality of life outweighs the risks?”
(If you’re laying on your belly in an ICU with a tube in your infected lungs, there is no quality of life. Ditto if the virus kills you. Nearly 175,000 have perished to date but if precautions weren’t taken, how many more would be dead?)
“I understand COVID-19 can be deadly and very dangerous for SOME people, but so are strawberries and shellfish. We take risks multiple times a day without a second thought. We know a car can be dangerous, we don’t leave it in the garage. We know the dangers of smoking, drinking and eating fried foods, we do it anyway. We speed, we don’t buckle our seat belts, we take more than directed. … When and how did we so quickly lose our free will?”
(Reckless and unhealthy lifestyle choices are not the same as containing a highly contagious disease. But this poster reveals something more cynical here. “Some” people might contract COVID-19, suffer and die — and that’s just fine as long as it is nobody the poster knows. The poster also rejects the notion that we all have an obligation to prevent the spread of the disease. When I wear the mask, it’s not a political statement. I’m protecting you).
“Is there a waiver somewhere I can sign that says, ‘I understand the risks, but I choose a life with hugs and smiles, and the state fair and concerts and homecoming.’ I understand there is a miniscule possibility I could die, but I will most likely end up feeling like crap for a few days. I understand I could possibly pass it to someone else if I’m not careful, but I can pass any virus onto someone else.”
(The temporary nuisances appear to be too much for this poor poster. Let’s go ahead and allow the virus to burn through the population killing untold numbers more because I want a funnel cake at the fair. And who cares if I infect others? I want to rock at a Doobie Brothers concert).
“When God decides it’s your time, you don’t get any mulligans, so I guess I would rather spend my time enjoying it and living it in the moment and not worrying about ifs and maybes…”
(The Lord wants me to enjoy my little pleasures but take no responsibility to protect myself and others).
The Greatest Generation came together and triumphed over far worse — the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II — and did it with conviction and stoicism. Let ours not be remembered as the Whiny Generation.
Postscript: I mentioned the late Herman Cain’s COVID-19-related death last week and several MDJ readers noted he had been treated for cancer. That’s true and, with his health so severely compromised, Cain should not have attended President Trump’s Tulsa rally. He died four weeks later.