I was a virus denier until I wasn't..
A couple of months of being locked down can make life as it stands feel like the new normal. No restaurants, gatherings, non-essential business, the list goes on. Believe me when I say, that I feel you. Having to deal with members of my family falling ill and knowing more than one person who has died as a result of the virus. It has been weighing down on me continuously for weeks.
Suffice to say, I am probably of the camp of people who would be considered mentally ill. Suffering from depression as a result of sustained isolation. Probably many of you are as well.
Believe it or not, I was one of the last people to catch on, and never in a million years thought i'd be the state I am now.
Like many people at the beginning. I was eluding to the severity of the virus and that was because I relied on the news and general social circles to gauge the impact that could be felt before the big waves came crushing down.
I remember distinctively, the total number of cases being in the single digits and not really thinking much of it at all. From 10, to 20, to 40, to 80, to 160 and soon it was doubling every couple of days. Even then, I still felt relatively safe and secure in my own little bubble.. didn't we all?
Well fast forward a few weeks and the world is dealing with a fatality rate akin to a world war. This time, it's affecting not the young, but all the most vulnerable of us. The ill, the old, the isolated.
Calls for social distancing fell on deaf ears, until it was abundantly clear that this was not just another flu and the simple model of IFR painting a flu like morbidity rate. No, it was much much worse. What kind of "flu" hospitalises anywhere between 10-20% of the people it infects, so much so that out of those infected, 5-15% die regardless of being put on a ventilator or not.
What kind of flu kills as many people as the flu season but in only 2 months with more to come, and lockdown initiated for months?
This dastardly "flu" which can stay airborne, aerosolised for up to a day, firmly stuck on surfaces for weeks, which can be transmitted with just a breath of air has become a grim reaper of sorts. Many who have been taken from us are those who are careful, wearing masks, keeping 6ft apart, never going out.. And it's not just old people, it's people of all ages.
The virus does care. Like the grim reaper, it calls your time and if your times up, it comes and take you at a whim. It's utterly terrifying and anyone who has experienced it first hand either from knowing someone infected, or god forbid, someone who has passed, will know that it is every bit as horrible as people describe-often much much worse.
Where does that leave us now? Two or Three months of lock down and everybody is sick of the isolation, sick of the lack of purpose. It's often said that people only work to make money. While that might be true, it is also true that people work to give them a purpose in life. Both can be true at the same time. And if that is the case, then people haven't had either in a very long time.
Initial easing will focus on reducing the size of gatherings. Some countries have opted for gatherings of no more than 5, others 10. Some even have higher numbers like 5000 for sporting events. I know someone that was meant to be running in the London and Boston marathon's this year and now both are clearly postponed. But what about other non-essentials? Like restaurants, retail shops etc?
As much as we have angst against what the CCP have eluded the rest of the world to, I think we can take a page or two out of their play book.
Maintain safe distancing by enforcing rules on how many people may enter stores or dine at restaurants. Restaurants can have layouts such that no body can sit adjacent to anyone. And tables with diners cannot be adjacent to another table with diners.
The wearing of masks is a hot topic. Now I was one of the earliest people to feel that they were not necessary but I have completely u-turned on that. I think they are absolutely necessary if any easing of locking should occur. By that, I mean mandatory wearing of masks any time in public. Whether that's with people from the same household or not.
Remember, wearing a mask is not just about protecting yourself. It is so much more than that. It is about showing other people, that should you be carrying the virus, you are reducing the possibly (two fold) that you will transmit it to them. By now, a large majority of people are already wearing masks so clearly the idea of "masks do little to protect you" no longer resonates with the majority.