In 3-4 months the worst of the Covid-19 virus spread will be over.
The stores and businesses that didn’t close for good will be open – schools will be catching up for lost time and you will be mowing your grass and thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner.
But you will also be thinking, “Damn – we didn’t handle THAT very well.”
Because the news media won’t be screaming “PANDEMIC!!!” and citing each new case and death statistic as though they involved yet another fiery airplane crash just over the hill.
And the U.S. Surgeon General, among other so called “leaders,” won’t be spouting timely advice with a panicked look on his face, “I want America to understand this week, IT’S GOING TO GET BAD!!”
Great job Mr. Adams. Your warning, while absolutely appropriate for the large cities in California, Washington State and New York, is monumentally inappropriate for the vast majority of citizens in the rest of the country. But you reached them all – of that you can be sure.
Which raises the greater question: Where is the balance in our response?
Shutting down the ENTIRE country (and giving equally imbalanced proclamations that incite country wide civic panic) is massively magnifying the very real and long-lasting damage to American lives – especially those who are at the bottom of the economic strata who always suffer the most. What could have and should have been a far more measured response based on real-time data applied to vastly different segments of the country has been anything but. It’s like watching someone cut off their leg after suffering a severely twisted ankle.
To the point:
Smyrna Tennessee (home of Vi-Jon Manufacturing, M.I. Metals and the Nissan Motors Assembly plant who all employ thousands) is not New York, Los Angeles or Seattle.
Nor is the Roanoke Valley which has its own set of notable employers as the 201st largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the U.S..
Today, (Monday March 23rd 2020) Smyrna and Roanoke each have 5 cases. (New York City alone has 10,764 and by the time you read this they will have 5 more.) Yet our cities have also been shut down for the last 7 days and we’re looking at another week. Will that become a month – or longer? Will people still be willing to listen / follow the protocols fully when and if things get “hot” here at about that time?
In the meantime are we ready to lop off ANOTHER $2.3 TRILLION from the U.S. economy? Or add to the losses of global markets that have peeled away $6 Trillion in the last 6 days?
We are clearly in uncharted territory. If we put our local, state and national economy into a full stall it will take more than a few months – and maybe even years – to fully re-start the engines. And there are no guarantee we have the altitude necessary to keep from hitting the ground. Hard. As in 1929 hard.
A few facts:
As of today we have 264 cases and 6 total deaths in the state of Virginia.
We lose 15 people every WEEK to traffic accidents in this state.
We have lost 782 people in Virginia SO FAR THIS YEAR to the FLU.
Which begs the question: Once the Covid-19 virus is resolved shouldn’t we shut down for the flu “PANDEMIC” next year? It’s clearly far worse. Covid-19 has killed 16,400 people worldwide over the last three months. The flu has killed over 150,000 in the same amount of time. (That’s 133,600 MORE if you’re counting.)
During the Blitz in London the English people took to the subways at night when the bombings began – as well they should have. But as Nazi Germany switched primarily to daytime bombing, British citizens gave up the subways and went about their everyday business – as well as that of fighting back against the “contagion” of fascism. Did it cost additional lives? Of course it did – but if they had abandoned either the living of “the every day” or “the fight” the world would be a VASTLY different place than it is today.
The time to “go to school” on our response as a country is NOW – not August. We need to adapt to the real conditions as we specifically know them and respond in a cautious – yet realistic – manner. Americans who reside in less impacted communities are wise enough to play it smart as the situation unfolds and can be counted on to minimize their exposure in all of the obvious ways they have been advised.
Our government needs to trust its citizens and let them make the call outside of areas where national / state mandates are clearly necessary.
Much of our recovery depends upon it.