The severe control scenario describes daily life in New York at the moment: Only work deemed essential is done in person, everyone who can do so works remotely and all institutions that create large gatherings — schools, entertainment, restaurants, sports leagues — have had those activities suspended.
Yes, the level of suffering caused by those changes and restrictions is high here in New York, even among those who are healthy. Knowing that so many of my fellow New Yorkers suddenly face life-and-death shortages of personal protective equipment in hospitals, while others face less life-threatening, but also dire job loss and business loss, provides some perspective on the worry about my husband’s canceled surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma, the disappointment I feel about a suspended book tour or my sadness about the lost milestones for both of our children.
A friend whose mother died last week had no funeral or shiva to cushion the loss. And that is just one of the tiny grief bombs that have exploded across the country as part of the epidemic’s social ripple effects. But we understand that we are doing our part for the common good.
When the history of this moment is written, it seems safe to say that we will reflect on words like those as showing an astonishing and consequential lack of understanding of how, as we face a global pandemic, our futures are bound up together.
If there ever was a time for the nanny state, this is it.
There is no clearer example of the harm caused by free riders than infectious diseases. While the planes are flying, the highways are open and the trains are running, they put us all at risk.
Beyond the noise in the numbers, however, there is clear agreement: Whatever the worst-case scenario is, acting together can help avert it.
The “living your life” attitude fails to acknowledge that doing so may cost someone else theirs. The problem isn’t just with the governor of Oklahoma taking his own family out for dinner; it’s his slowness, and that of all the other laggard governors, to create conditions in which those dinners out are not individual choices.
Those decisions rest largely in the hands of governors, mayors and county executives. No city is an island — not even Manhattan, which is an actual island.
Thus, the moment in which we find ourselves: Those of us in states with robust responses are still vulnerable, no matter how much sacrifice we make for the greater good, because of states with weak responses.
Certainly, we can continue to look with disdain at those who are scoffing at recommendations for social distancing, as they put their own desire to party ahead of our collective well-being. But those who will unquestionably have failed us all are the governors and mayors who put the economic well-being of their own states and districts ahead of our collective health as a nation.
- Some Public Health Officials Not Releasing Coronavirus Hospitalizations : Shots – Health News – NPR
- Covid-19 health-care crisis could drive new developments in robotics, editorial says – The Washington Post
- Lost Your Health Insurance During the COVID-19 Crisis? Here Are Your Options – The Motley Fool
- El Paso virus cases jump to 35 as health leaders warn of increased risk of ‘community spread’ – KVIA El Paso
- Gov. Tom Wolf relaxes regulations on medical professionals, health care workers, pharmacists – PennLive
- McLean County health officials report one new COVID-19 case Saturday – week.com
- ‘I’m deeply concerned’: Public health experts warn of coronavirus spread in more US cities – Yahoo Finance
- Coronavirus May Add Billions to the Nation’s Health Care Bill – The New York Times
- Coronavirus Hits Spain’s Health Services Hard – The Wall Street Journal