Striking the Balance Between Lives and Livelihoods
Is American Exceptionalism working against us in these times? Americans don’t like to be told what to do; however, they will come together in solidarity to help, protect, care for, and save fellow Americans. Does wearing a mask require and deserve our solidarity?sp
As Americans, we love our freedom and independence. But in certain times when we need to all come together and make personal sacrifices for the greater good, we sometimes under-perform other nations. For those Americans that don’t perceive the coronavirus as a clear and present danger, they think and act as they choose, but not as a united nation. For many Americans, the coronavirus is abstract and is not perceived as a clear and present danger because they can’t see it, touch it, understand it, believe it, even though science and data confirm the virus is an existential health and economic crisis of enormous scope. It is a tragic irony that our fierce and independent Americanism we are so proud of is working against us and not uniting us, but dividing us at this critical time.
It is a difficult leadership moment in history for politicians at the federal, state and local levels to know the right balance between
- guidance and directives emphasizing safety and the protection of lives, vs.
- Trump’s “banzai charge” to give the virus the finger (mask-less) while misleading, egging on and cajoling citizens back to work and students/teachers back to school asap to serve his personal reelection objectives while he has zero empathy or regard for how many lives may be lost.
Striking the right balance is the key, but where and how to strike the balance between livelihoods & lives has to be one of the most difficult and critical in our lifetimes. The criteria people are using to inform their opinions/decisions are all over the map: risk/reward, science, data, religion, politics, conspiracy theories, gut instinct, and one’s basic need to survive.
We are a family, and a family in crisis pulls together to save its home and household and in the process, we make no favorites within the family. If one family member needs a little more help today, that’s ok because in the future that member can help another who is in need. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
In this moment of crisis, we Americans should be one in solidarity and love.
Can normal life resume before everyone is vaccinated?
Will we ever trust crowds again?
What could go wrong with self-spreading vaccines?
Can it be made safe to go back to school?
Who will get the vaccine and in what order?
How will COVID-19 shape and advance our society?
Why was the U.S. not prepared for COVID-19?
How is the U.S. economy going to recover from this disaster?
- Are we caught in a looming moral disaster trying to balance the number of lives lost against damage to the economy?
- Long-term, will the cure be worse than the virus?
- Will Illinois and/or other states have to ultimately launch a real (or simulated) bankruptcy?
- The Four Rules of Pandemic Economics by Derek Thompson
- A Debt Jubilee is the Only Way to Avoid a Depression by Michael Hudson
What is our road map ahead for Pandemic I?
- institute uniform social-distancing and quarantine policies
- ramp up testing and produce faster-acting test kits at scale
- prioritize testing of health workers
- allocate masks and ventilators to stop states’ competing
- simultaneously fast track development of
- rapid trials to race for a vaccine, and
- multiple production plants for each vaccine.
- The first modern pandemic: The scientific advances we need to stop COVID-19 by Bill Gates
Thou Shalt Go Back to Work & School
There’s nothing in the bible that says, “Thou shalt not wear masks and social distance.”
Does Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick know what the f**k he’s talking about when he says he is willing to die from coronavirus in order to go back to work now and help save America’s economy for his grand-kids? Apparently he subscribes to the evangelical christian gospel of “growth and prosperity” which says “thou shalt not sacrifice a quarter or two of gross domestic product to save tens of thousands of lives.”
What a brave guy he is, always looking so sharp in his yellow power ties. If Patrick were to contract a coronavirus and die, in the process he would infect his family and become the source of the virus that might kill one of his grandchildren. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, are you willing to pay that price? Did you ask your kids and grand-kids if they are willing to pay that price?
Of course we all have to go back to work sometime and want to go back to work, but the tough question is, when is the right time for the greater good?
Should this be decided unilaterally by one man?
And the People Stayed Home
by Kitty O'Meara
And the people stayed home.
And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised,
and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being,
and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous,
mindless, and heartless ways,
the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed,
and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses,
and made new choices,
and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.
by Lynn Ungar
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath —
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love —
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
- conspiracy theories:
- crowd sourcing anti-viral: FoldIt
- data: COVID Tracking Project
- economic recovery redux:
- quietly helping others: Suspended Shopping
- flatten the curve:
- Health & Wellness
- infection control best practices: Infection Control Today
- kids: daily schedule
- masks: 3D
- math+human behavior: Panic never helps.
- photo gallery: COVID19
- safety & health:
- a Black Swan world: Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- sci-fi: The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz
- truth and transparency: False Advertising