Rhode Island is somewhere around week six of the coronavirus outbreak. It could be five with the stay at home order, but it’s all beginning to blur. It definitely seems much longer than that and I’m willing to bet that’s at least one thing everyone can agree on, because there’s not a whole lot of agreeing going on.
I’ve been doing my part regarding social distancing.
For me it hasn’t been that hard seeing how I’m not much of a touchy, feely people person to begin with, but I understand the call for social distancing.
I did however find myself in quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus, and I did get sick.
Luckily the test came back negative, but before that I found myself with an overabundance of time on my hands. Like most people, I ended up spending most of that time using social media. Normally I’d say that was a waste of time, but I noticed something. A lot of people are panicking and fighting. Not necessarily because of the coronavirus pandemic itself, but because people don’t do well with uncertainty.
In the beginning many tried to compare COVID-19 to the 9/11 terror attack, but this crisis hasn’t culminated with America coming together, supporting each other and looking out for one another.
The horrors of 9/11 unfolded on our TVs on the morning of September 11th and then on September 12th we somehow began pulling together. The bad thing itself had happened. The attack was over and we began picking up the pieces. We knew where we stood. The difference this time is that the bad thing is still happening.
People are still getting sick. People are still dying and they will continue to for some time. That end point hasn’t happened yet, and it’s that uncertainty of not knowing that is eating at people and many are simply losing it. Facing the reality of mortality isn’t easy for anyone, and prolonging that uncertainty has caused many rational people to simply lose it.
I’ve watched as people started comparing this brand-new virus to the flu, and the number of people who die each year from it. You can’t compare a virus which we have decades of data and information on to something we’ve never encountered before. Yet, even today people are still trying to make that comparison because something known is not as scary as the unknown.
Then people began arguing about social distancing, some arguing that it was well within their rights to go wherever they want, whenever they want. At the same time, you had people on the other side arguing that they’re being selfish and “your rights” don’t give you the right to put other people’s lives in danger.
Then the numbers started being reported.
Everyday, Governor Gina Raimondo holds a press conference where she announces the number of new positive coronavirus cases, the new cumulative total of positive coronavirus cases as well as the number of new deaths and the total deaths due to coronavirus. Then more and more people began complaining as to why they weren’t announcing the number of people who had recovered from the virus and they were just instilling fear.
Many times, people have said they just want good news.
Knowing how to calculate the number of recovered and that 98% of those who are infected do recover, just simply isn’t good enough.
The reality is that the numbers that are given every day are simply data to calculate the spread of the virus and how much of the population is infected. The number of recovered cases tells us nothing at this point in time, and will only be useful in future models. But again, that’s somehow not an acceptable answer despite it being the truth so there must be something more nefarious going on.
Which brings us to the models. Again, you need to remember we are dealing with a virus we have zero data on, so any model put forth is based on best guesses. We have no concrete reliable data to work off of so the chances of any model that’s put out there will be wrong and need to be adjusted is a pretty sure bet.
Now one of the latest points of contention are people on social media posting about how every death is now being called a COVID-19 death.
That simply is not true.
Every death is not being labeled as a coronavirus death. Surprisingly, these are the same people who also argue the number of people who “die from the flu.”
Apparently, you can die of one virus but not the other. That’s simply ridiculous, yet once rational people are pushing it as if it was gospel.
Also, people who die in an automobile accident or who are murdered are not being recorded as a COVID-19 death.
And the most recent, which I have a huge problem with, is now the US has surpassed the number of deaths in Italy. This non-argument comes in the form of a meme where Italy is superimposed over a map of the United States and the smug comments of “Really, imagine that.” Despite how you feel about this pandemic, you should never minimize the loss of life in order to make a point or prove how right you are.
Yet here we are and we’ve been here for at least six weeks. Many people will die and many more will die alone without the comfort of a loved one being present. These aren’t just numbers, they’re someone’s mother, father or child.
Knock it off.
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