Long ago, a storm was heading toward the city of Quin’lat.
The people sought protection within the walls.
All except one man who remained outside.
I went to him and asked what he was doing.
I am not afraid, he said.
I will not hide my face behind stone and mortar.
I will stand before the wind and make it respect me.
I honoured his choice and went inside.
The next day, the storm came and the man was killed.
The wind does not respect a fool.
Kahless — Star Trek the Next Generation, Rightful Heir
Everyone wants things to reopen. Nobody is happy having to shelter in place or being concerned about money or not being able to do what we have been doing all our lives. However, Covid-19 is just not cooperating. Despite our best efforts, we are not ready to get back to business as usual. The R0 is nowhere near the level that would allow us to declare victory.
That said we have many people arguing for reopening our economies. Their reasons vary, but in the end don’t really matter. The virus, like the storm in the quote above, will not respond to our wishes. It will keep doing what it does best, infecting hosts it can reach and replicating as many times as possible.
Our choices are to allow it to run rampant, go with measures we hope will be successful, or throw everything we have at it and keep adding to our arsenal until we are successful. But we have to contend with change fatigue, getting tired of isolation, and the “new normal” of working from home and having many industries closed.
Also, there is a group dynamic issue at play here. The man who stands before a storm and perishes is only playing Russian Roulette with his own life, while this virus represents communal risk. Anyone who becomes infected is putting everyone around them at risk of becoming infected. This is why we are all in this together and we are only as strong as our weakest links. The ones who want to play Russian Roulette with Covid-19 are asking the wind to respect everyone, not just him as he stands in front of the wall unsheltered.
We can choose to take unnecessary risk or we can choose to be as safe as necessary, even being overly safe in order to assure victory. Hindsight is 20/20. We can pretend foresight is the same as hindsight, or we can overdo it to make sure the future is kind in saving lives.
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