You Don’t Have to be Scared to Take Precautions
I’ve seen this one pop up a few times over the past week.
This makes sense for things like STDs and some cancers. If your partner has Herpes and you are aware of their diagnosis you can understand the risk and go for it anyway.
Along those lines, you can chain smoke Pall Malls and lay out in the sun all day without sunscreen and increase your chances of lung and skin cancer and do these without affecting anyone else’s health. You know the risk and make your choice.
So, to a point, I get it and understand… but I think it’s missing a crucial factor: Spreading the virus is passive, not active.
Say you go to a crowded arena for a tightly packed Trump rally where there are very few masks and a lot of people talking to each other in close proximity. You’re all there of your own accord taking the risk on yourself. Fine.
But what if you get infected while you’re there? Symptoms will take days to weeks to manifest or you might be completely asymptomatic.
So maybe you pick it up and then a couple of days later you go to get gas. You’re out there maskless with your freedom and liberty on full display. You sneeze into your elbow, but then inadvertently wipe your finger across your nose. You don’t sanitize, because you don’t think about it. You’re living without fear.
Then you go to get some coffee. You grab the small cup, then think about how it’s a long drive, you’d better grab the big one. You’ve just contaminated a cup. You pick up a creamer, but realize it’s not the flavor you want and put it back to grab another one. You’ve just contaminated multiple creamers. You get a lid for your cup, but you have to touch a few to get yours. You’ve just contaminated some lids. You pay with cash. You’ve just contaminated the worker’s hands or gloves.
Some of this will hopefully be mitigated. Hopefully the employee is doing the right thing and washing and sanitizing their hands. Hopefully they’re conscious of not touching their face. Hopefully the store is cleaning the coffee machines regularly so that the lever you pressed for your coffee won’t contaminate more people…
But what about that first cup you touched, or that first creamer you touched or the other lids you touched? Even if they sanitize their hands before they drink it, the virus is on their cup and lid. I often stop at a gas station that’s packed with Amazon delivery trucks every afternoon. What happens if one of them grabs that coffee cup and another grabs the creamer. They sanitize, but it’s already on the cup, so they get it right back on their hands a few minutes later… and then a bunch of boxes…
Then maybe you go to the grocery store. You pick up three versions of a pasta to check the nutrition facts or ingredient list. It’s close to your face as you read it, so you’re breathing all over the two you put back… I think you get the point.
But I’m just fear-mongering, right? I’m just worrying about all of the little things that could happen and trying to make everyone help me feel okay, right?
I don’t think so. I’m living my life. I’m not walking around in constant fear. But I’m taking precautions. I’m keeping my distance from people so that if either of us is asymptomatic we won’t spread it to each other. If I fall back on normal habits and shake a hand, I am conscious about what I touch and sanitize or wash my hands as soon as I can. I wear a mask so that I spray fewer respiratory droplets from my face, thus mitigating any spread I could cause. I live my life without fear, but with precautions to try to help stem a societal problem.
But wait, there’s more!
The life you’re out there living is limited. Places are closing early. You’re getting hassled or denied service for not wearing a mask — even from sympathetic Trump-flag waving businesses. Some stuff is still closed. Restaurants have limited menus (No buttermilk tender at McDonald’s? WTF?!?). Stores are out of things. Things are more expensive(I didn’t build the treehouse I’d planned for the kids this summer because wood was scarce, then the price kept going up exponentially!). Schools are closing. Sports are jacked up. And as we move toward flu season there’s more talk about coming shutdowns.
Doctors, scientists and researchers have been saying for months that most of us following social distancing and masking guidelines could have this thing under control in a matter of months. MONTHS! Maybe they’re wrong, but why not get on board and try to hold them to that? What’s the worst you have to lose? You live in so-called fear for a couple of months — missing out on a limited version of life. Then after a couple of months either this thing is under control and we can go back to normal, or it’s still the same problem and you can say “I told you so” and go back to your “fearless” life.
I don’t care about your feelings
At the end of the day, I get the desire for choice and aversion to feeling weak and fearful. I don’t want to be told what to do or feel weak or fearful.
And I don’t. So I think this sentiment is misguided. It doesn’t take into account the effects your choices have on other people. I also think that it’s incredibly shortsighted and that if the medical experts, who’ve devoted their lives and careers to this, are right then you’re actually contributing to lengthening this situation, which is also affecting you.
So in the end, as I’ve heard many anti-liberals say — I don’t care about your feelings of wanting to feel fearless and tough and liberated. I would just like you to suck it up, like me (contrary to popular belief, most of us left-leaning folks wearing masks and social distancing don’t want to) and help stop this stuff. Or at least — if you want to be consistent with this message then go to your Trump rally, or whatever and then go directly home and self-quarantine for two weeks or until you can get a test and make sure you’re COVID-free.