I was moved by a phone call from a client who told me how hard it is for her to find reasons for hope about COVID19. Here’s a supplement to my earlier post “Coping with Corona“) with more reasons for hope–and a few caveats.
There’s Hope at Different Levels of Government
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has done a beautiful job of quelling excessive fear and offering hope and encouragement, but without giving false hope. However, he’s not getting as much news coverage as state and federal officials. But we can search online for details about what other local leaders are saying and doing.
Political Office Holders Aren’t Our Only Leaders
In the US and many other countries, people don’t wait for the government to solve every problem. We are self-starters.
From my own backyard:
- The management of my Camden apartment complex of over 400 units and other Camden properties initiated safety measures long before they were ordered by government. They closed communal areas. They installed hand sanitizer dispensers at areas where we have to go, such as mail rooms, and asked for social distancing in these areas. And they stayed the course and put safety first in the face of resident complaints. One resident even complained that the main courtyard should be opened for social dancing, if you can believe that.
- Camden Property Trust set up a $5,000,000 Camden Cares Resident Relief Fund and later extended it to over $10,000,000.
- Local organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, have flocked to donate whatever they can to provide PPE for first responders, relief for people currently out of work, etc.
- The Houston Ballet, Symphony, Opera and Museum of Fine Arts, as well as smaller theaters like The Music Box, while suffering loss of income, have offered free or low cost online performances and museum tours.
- Some local Jewish men even created a way to make masks out of yarlmulkes.
- Wealthy individuals have donated huge amounts. Astros third baseman Alex Bregman financed a $100,000 Feed Houston Fund, and the Astros Foundation pledged an additional $100,000.
Such things are happening all over the country. Tom Hanks and his wife, who contracted and survived COVID19, are donating their antibodies to assist research for a vaccine.
And I read that elderly people all around the world, some in their 80s or 90s, have survived the virus.
Hoaxes and false conspiracy theories about COVID19 abound. Ask yourself, “Who would want us to believe that people who have put forth millions of dollars to fund COVID19 research have, themselves, actually physically tried to spread the virus?” My first suspect would be a hostile foreign government.
Other hoaxes, while purporting to offer help, mislead people to not take adequate safety measures.
If you hear or read something scary, don’t take it at face value. Check it out.
Again, stop, or at least limit, exposure to social media. It is rife with cleverly disguised misinformation and undisguised nastiness. In fact, social media are favorite machines that hostile foreign governments have, historically used to instill fear and stir up conflicts amongst us.
Biggest Hope/Biggest Caveat?
State governments have started “opening up” for business, easing social distance directives. Meanwhile, in the last few days, cases of COVID-19 have dropped in the U.S. It Is important not to assume that relaxing safety rules has caused the drop in cases. It isn’t even safe to assume that cases have dropped despite reopening. The most likely explanation for recent drops in cases is that social distancing has been is working.
In Texas, relaxation of the social distancing directives started about two weeks ago. Some people who were infected recently, while getting out more, would not yet show symptoms. Plus, two weeks is just not long enough to be certain about cause and effect when so little is known about this brand new virus. Look how long it has taken for us to actually see a sustained drop in cases caused by safety rules that began a couple of months ago.
Texas Gov. Abbot is on record as saying: ““How do we know reopening businesses won’t result in faster spread of COVID-19? Listen, the fact of the matter is, pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening … it actually will lead to an increase in spread. It’s almost ipso facto … The goal never has been to get COVID-19 transmission down to zero.”
While full safety requirements were in place, they were followed by most people. But people have not followed the limitations on re-opening, such as bars limited to a percentage of their usual capacity. Some people underestimate what 6 feet looks like. Re-opening, especially when not being done as directed, should be viewed as an experiment. It may be a month or more before we know whether or not reopening has created a surge in new cases and how big a surge.
I realize that, if the economy stays shut down long enough, it will eventually lead–indirectly–to loss of life. People might die because essential businesses can’t afford to stay open. People out of work may die because they can’t afford doctor visits, medicine or nutritious food. Domestic violence surged almost from the beginning of COVID19 awareness. There will be more domestic murders and suicides. But where to strike a balance between the economy and minimizing the virus is an experiment. The only thing certain is that there will be many lives lost and a lot of economic damage no matter what.
I don’t intend to be one of the guinea pigs in this experiment. Plenty of other people have been happy to be the guinea pigs–the ones who crowd parks and beaches without masks or sufficient distance, the ones who jam into re-opened bars like sardines.
I will stay home as much as possible, order what I can rather than shop in person. When I do go out, I’ll wear my mask and stay 6 feet away from others. Everyone’s entitled to make their own plan. I hope you will make your plans mindful of what we don’t yet know about the effects of reopening.
As always, if you found this post helpful and think it would help other people, please share it. And if you learn of additional reasons for hope–or caveats, please offer them as comments to this blog post.