Even before this pandemic I was bemoaning the lack of empathy in my fellow humans and was wondering what was so hard about it. As I’ve watched it spread and seen videos of people refusing to stop partying and gathering and not taking the recommendations of health professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci seriously I shook my head in disbelief at the callous nature of our fellow humans. I thought of the line from Yeats about the falcon not being able to hear the falconer and how I understood it more. Then yesterday I saw an article about a 34 year old man that died from Covid-19.
The thing that struck me most about it, wasn’t that he was five years younger than I, it was that it mentioned coughing up blood as an early symptom. This was the first I had read of that, and it sent a ripple of fear down my spine. I then thought about all my fears and how they were based in economics. I am watching my business collapse around me, and I fear if this last as long as predicted it will never come back. I am also uncertain if that is a bad thing. More time at home and with family would be a great thing if we lived in a world that wasn’t so hellbent on making everyone earn a living.
Sitting there, reading this article, I realized a very important fact. If we lose our business, if we lose all our money, we will still be alive. If, however, we get Covid-19 and end up coughing up blood, stuck on a ventilator in a medically induced coma with loved ones gathered round as our life slowly fades away we lose so much more.
It isn’t that the economic impact of this disease isn’t troublesome and stressful. It is more that it is not the end. If we lose everything and have to start again we can. If we lose our lives there is no starting over. I do not know when this ends or how it ends, but I do have a feeling that by the time it does all our economic concerns will look quite silly in the face of the truly bleak and horrific outcome.
I am uncertain who is reading this right now, but let me make clear that we are at the beginning of this. This disease will continue to spread exponentially and while the predictions that 20-60% of the population will get it and 3.4% of them will die does not sound scary consider that (329,000,000 * 0.20) *0.034 = 2,237,200, and that is at the low end of the prediction. This is a frightening and serious matter that is going to forever change the world, and the only way to prevent death tolls of that magnitude is to shelter in place and avoid contact with others until the spread of the virus is contained or a vaccine is ready for mass distribution.
The economic stress of this disease remains my most immediate source of emotional discomfort, because not only do I like what I do, I’d like to continue doing it, and the mass shutdown of the world has brought that to a screeching halt. But my stress and worry isn’t all that important when faced with the reality that thousands have already lost their lives and the death toll could be ten or a hundred fold by the time this is all said and done. It is only right that we are sensitive to those that have already lost their battle with Covid-19 and continue to be sensitive to others that will. This is a disease. A disease that kills. While my fear over my business and economic well being is real and stressful it is not particularly important in light of what others have or will lose.
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