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.
Should our goal be to minimize mortality (Focused Protection vs lockdowns) and social harm until we reach herd immunity?
However we decide to strike the balance, we must return to the principle that during times of existential crisis, Americans must unite as a nation and a family that pulls together to protect home and household. 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, by doing the simple things that protect us all (masks, distancing, washing hands).
In this moment of crisis, we Americans should be one in solidarity and love.
Who do we save first with the vaccine?
- How will COVID inpatients be prioritized based on a survivability score?
- A novel severity score to predict inpatient mortality in COVID-19 patients
Will you take the vaccine?
- If “yes,” then why?
- If “no,” then why not?
- Or, will you go to the back of the line so others can go first?
What can science learn from the COVID-19 Pandemic?
- How will COVID-19 shape and advance our society?
What could go wrong with self-spreading vaccines?
Can it be made safe to go back to school?
Why was the U.S. not prepared for COVID-19?
Long term, 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
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?
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
- art imitates life: The End of October by Lawrence Wright
- conspiracy theories:
- crowd sourcing anti-viral: FoldIt
- data: COVID Tracking Project
- economic recovery redux:
- quietly helping others: Suspended Shopping
- flatten the curve:
- Health & Wellness
- herd immunity: Great Barrington Declaration (Focused Protection)
- infection control best practices: Infection Control Today
- kids: daily schedule
- lockdown poems:
- 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