I’m going to go out on a limb and be one of the first persons I know to say that NOTHING we have done in the past few days in response to corvoid-19 makes any logical sense. Every model that I am seeing suggests that we are more likely than not to have the exact same number of deaths from this virus and that the massive quarantine we are enforcing will only drag the timeline out further. This is being done to keep the hospitals and emergencies from being overrun with sick folks. My observation is that every person that has a cough right now is running to the emergency room or hospitals any way. My conversations with friends in the medical field leads me to believe the panic experienced in empty grocery store shelves is corresponding with overcrowded emergency room waiting areas.
We no longer live on farms. This means that we do not have the means to raise our own food. As a result, every person in our community has to go to the grocery store. In fact, the citizens of Jeffersonville and Clarksville have five main stores that they frequent. With the recent panic purchasing that has been done, people have ventured into several stores to locate much needed items. Every item we purchase at these stores has been touched 3-4 times by persons who may not even know that they are “carriers” of the virus. Recent data is suggesting that people may carry the virus without experiencing any symptoms, which means we are at risk even from those who do not display a fever. This means our mail may be carrying the virus, the money we exchange may be infected, the gas pump, the chip reader for our credit cards, the produce/can goods and even the coveted toilet paper may contain traces of the virus.
What good is it to not worship together when we all have to go to the same grocery stores? What good is it to close down restaurants as a gathering place when the parking lot of Walmart is so full that you cannot get a cart between the cars? Any thoughtful person can realize that if daycares are closed, people will not be able to go to work and food will not get stocked on grocery store shelves.
More recent reports about this virus in our area suggest that it has been around since late February or early March. This means that we’ve had weeks of infecting each other before ANY precautionary measures were put in place. My suggestion is that we avoid contact with any person over the age of 65 who is in poor health and children under the age of 6. In my opinion, compromising the economic livelihood of our neighbors and dumping our economy in the toilet is not the answer.
One option that I heard England considered was quarantining the elderly only, while encouraging others to go about their daily lives as usual. Go to work, go to your kids’ games, and cause the virus to quickly move through the healthy population to get it over with as smoothly as possible so that anti-bodies are built up quickly.
Instead of taking a conservative stance, our government seems to be overly anxious to do something in the fight against the coronavirus. In the meantime, we are experiencing the greatest single downturn our economy has ever seen. The approach may have the effect of bankrupting small businesses and pushing a hardworking middle class into poverty. We may be destroying our service industry in such a way that we will need a government bailout in order to right the ship. Family owned restaurants, daycares, and small businesses may be destroyed. Closing restaurants, daycares, and other institutions that help working folks propel our economy forward seems irresponsible.
I applaud measures that protect the elderly and the vulnerable. Limiting visits to nursing homes and hospitals makes sense. Social distancing makes sense. Maintaining basic hygiene makes sense. Pushing our economy down a rabbit hole is a move we will all regret.
As a person of faith, I follow in Mother Teresa’s footsteps when she says, “No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds. Yet I willingly care for him for the love of God.” God has called me to pray and each time I pray I’ve felt a restlessness that has left me unsettled. I called my 86-year-old grandma to check on her and she said Jimmie, “I’m living on borrowed time anyway.” I said, “Grandma, you saying that makes me sad.” She replied, “It shouldn’t. I have Jesus in my heart. I refuse to live in fear. I also love you with all of my heart.” I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to live in fear.
I’m going to always treasure her saying, “I love you with all of my heart.” You see, she just got out of the hospital with a severe respiratory virus and pneumonia but even after this brush with death she refuses to live in fear. She went out dancing this past Thursday and she said, “I would have Friday, too, if they hadn’t cancelled it.” Refusing to live in fear is important for those who live in faith, especially when the fear can cripple our country and hurt others, much the same way this virus may.