Scranton Column: Get back to the business of living
These past two months have been anything but boring!
The Presidential Election, for some, is still up in the air and COVID is making life more and more difficult for everyone to get back to normal. There have been so many conversations about “the new normal” and how things are going to look moving forward as we get this virus figured out and contained. Most of the viewpoints expressed about how our society should look seem to be based off of a combination of “the science” (as we know it) and fear (all that we don’t know).
So much of what we are asked to do these days centers around working together to protect others from contracting a virus with a substantial infection rate matched by the levels of people being asymptomatic and those who recover. Active cases versus the recovered are overshadowed by the obvious and tragic mortality rate that seems to steal all the headlines.
Hospitals are rightly concerned about filling beyond capacity if those affected require care, and if the medical community can keep pace with uncertain levels of infection and the wide-ranging effects on people (most likely dependent upon age).
All of these are legitimate and useful concerns for guiding some type of public health strategy for trying to contain a virus whose nature we are still trying to figure out. Vaccines are the latest promise from our leaders who hope that when enough people can confidently know that the virus won’t overwhelm our hospitals, they can assure the public and all of us can confidently resume life as we once knew it.
Like just about everything in our culture these days, there is wide and varied disagreement about how we should be handling the virus. Even locally, there has been so much frustration about how the virus is being reported, if indeed tests are accurate, which tests are better, if people should be quarantined, how long, how much time is required for the virus to be spread from one person to another, how close is too close or far enough away, mask effectiveness, social distancing, and washing hands.
The frustration hasn’t even taken into account the obvious strain on the lives of people who are negatively affected by the unintended consequences of trying to contain a virus that appears to be mostly immune to human efforts to manage its spread.
New breakouts are reported in just about every state and country in the world and the usual talking heads look for people or communities or politicians or political parties to blame.
I would posit that the leading cause of contracting any virus is living. Right now we aren’t living really well and the virus is still doing what a virus does best – spread. How we are living is a question most people on the front lines haven’t really had time to process, but the overarching effect of this particular strain has brought life as we know it to a crashing halt.
People have wide ranging views about how we should be living, but it’s hard to have a rational conversation these days about most things and an added viral pandemic just fuels the hyperbolic approaches to issues that were once reserved for politics, religion and sports teams. The officials elected to protect the people and hired to manage public health appear to have different rules depending on their particular viewpoint or personal preference.
I’m just a citizen trying to wade through the sea of public discourse and supposed expert opinions but at some point we have to move on, not fearful of dying, or trying to hide from something we can’t even see, but because the world needs us all to, at some point, say enough, and get back to the business of living.
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