Is there one?
Gov Cuomo: “We have to plan the pivot back to economic functionality” Says we may not have to isolate everyone. Could allow the healthy, less vulnerable to work. #COVID19 survival rate is 98%. NY Forward plan to look into restarting economic engine.
"What is the endgame?" is the question being raised by Cuomo and Trump as they say it's time to get people back to work.
We assume that one day this will all be over, because we assume the infection rate follows the bell curve. But perhaps this horror follows a sine curve, where false hope is followed by renewed infections, until we regress into a kind of Children of Men dystopia.
The total lockdown strategy is one based on least-harm ignorance. Leaders mimic each other over the correct approach. They apply the most extreme tactic that they hope will keep the most people safe -- biologically and economically -- until scientists finally get the opportunity to catch up with the coronavirus.
It's easy for politicians to place us into just-in-case lockdowns, but they are clueless as to the conditions under which to release us. Should we be let out of our homes after 70% fall ill, or after 70% recover, or once the number of new cases falls to 70% of the peak, or...
No one knows. Even the rallying cry "Flatten the curve!" is based on assumptions, not knowledge.
The first role of government has always been the safety of its citizens. But now leaders now face a Pontius Pilate-role, except today the question these events are dooming them into asking is, "What is safety?" Is it...
- Physical health?
- Psychological health?
- - -
As creatures of habit, we fall into new patterns after sufficient repetitions, even void repetitions, such as avoiding each other. Once this is over, do we maintain our habit of social distancing, or will we fall with relief into a global group hug.
What if by the end the economy is irrecoverable, supply lines irrevocably cut, neighbors forget how to be neighborly, children's childhoods lost. Even as health officers calmly give us our daily update, society is breaking down. A nurse we know has three home-from-school pre-teen sons; social distancing means that no babysitter is allowed to help her, and so she cannot help society with her nursing skills.
The owner of a ten-store business found 14% of his staff no longer show up for work, because they took up the government's offer of free, no-questions-asked money.
A branch manager is under his doctor's orders to self-quarantine for two weeks, not because he has the virus, but because he was breaking down from stress over the virus breaking down his business.
Even as governments pour trillions (or billions, in the case of Canada) into society to keep it from falling apart, society is falling resolutely apart in ways government cannot foresee, nor detect. Perhaps one best-outcome will be recognition that our salvation does not come from government on high.
Nor does our salvation come from technology. We (a pair of tech-knowledgeable guys) struggled greatly yesterday to set up a Hangouts group video chat. (We nicknamed it "Hangups.") One person's MacBook refused to allow its microphone to work, and so we could only see her. Another had never before installed an app on her phone and when I offered to help, had no idea what her Apple ID might be. Socially distanced by tech, and not even Google is mighty to save us.
All this was triggered by a printed sign I saw for the first time during this outbreak at a local grocery store:
"Out of Stock