All over the country, animal shelters are being emptied. Our pandemic-caused sequestration gives pet parents time to train new family members and give the animals ample time to train new owners.
This phenomenon also gives people living alone companionship. This is an undisputed good thing coming from this worldwide humanitarian crisis.
But not every person’s first instincts are to selflessly work, donate, give blood, and sew masks.
And the fact that people all around the country are sewing masks for first responders frightens and angers me. The lack of critical PPE and respirators in this country can be traced directly back to arrogance, lack of interest, and the trend to substitute one’s uneducated judgment over that of scientists.
Weeks were wasted with golfing trips which dumped money into personal coffers and pep rallies that massaged the ego. During these weeks, alarm bells were being sounded by affected nations, epidemiologists, and even intelligence officials. The warnings were ignored. Inaction was rationalized by calling the facts a nefarious plot by political foes.
The opportunity for early, mass testing, the key to China’s containment and South Korea’s overall low infection rate was lost. The World Health Organization had a reliable test that was being put into use. Our nation did not request, nor was offered the test because historically, the US creates its own test. But we did not.
There are still, three and a half months later, not enough tests for every suspected patient. Because of this, no one has an accurate number of patients and resulting deaths or has true indications of where the next hot spot might be.
Partisan commentators and worried billionaires are pushing for mitigation efforts to be ceased in order to restart the economy. Safely hidden behind walls of money, they declare that if patriotic, the old, sick, and working-class would be willing to sacrifice themselves on the altar of capitalism. When lives are weighed against personal fortune, the monied have decided the lives of the less fortunate are forfeit.
Public health briefings have become multi-houred campaign rallies with stews of misinformation, redirection of blame, and blustering attempts to spin the truth 180°; every reckless word powered by ego and fear.
An international bully pulpit is wasted by holding a daily master class on bullying.
With such an attitude from the top, a large segment of the population feels free to ignore measures put into place to reduce infection. Police regularly break up pandemic parties attended by the deluded and defiant.
Large church services draw hundreds of the faithful, presided over by leaders who point to freedom of religion while acting in ways that deny science and mirrors the tragic religious response to plagues of the dark ages.
Individuals have every right to risk their own lives. But a pandemic makes every life dependent on the actions of every other. The careless actions of the hubristic and cavalier put to risk the elderly and the immuno-compromised.
But there are angels.
Postal workers, truck drivers, and food purveyors are showing up to work every day so that we can get food and other necessary items to sustain our self-imposed seclusion.
And ill-equipped and overwhelmed health care professionals keep working. Risking their own lives, missing their own families, and breaking their hearts daily, they keep working.
Politicization of the facts, eschewing science, and ignorant magical thinking has multiplied the damage and death this virus will cause. It should infuriate any honest, rational human.
But the heroics of those who choose not to turn away and keep helping even when they’ve barely anything left to give should humble and inspire us all.
Thanks for your time.
Contact debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.