Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Surviving the Coronavirus: Part 6

Don't Die! Edition

There are now various geezers senior citizens out there talking about how they are willing to risk death if it means saving other lives by saving the economy. In other words, more specially in my words, they are willing to take a bullet for the team by stupidly not flattening the curve as much as they could. Glen Beck has just recently volunteered for the heroically-foolish geezer ranks, though he admits to not quite yet being a geezer.
I mean, I'm in the danger zone. I'm right at the edge, I'm 56. In Italy they're saying if you're sick and you're 60, don't even come in. So, I'm in the danger zone. I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working, even if we all get sick, I would rather die than kill the country. 'Cause it's not the economy that's dying, it's the country. 
It's a noble thought, but it's stupid. It's exactly the wrong thing to do. And if only not-quite-a-geezer Beck had been reading this august blog, he would have known better.

Consider, for example, my sister. She is not "right at the edge" of the danger zone; she's 70; she can see the edge of the danger zone only if she squints. She's been insulin-needles-several-times-a-day since she was a teenager. She is now battling a theoretically controllable form of leukemia, one that was diagnosed on the anniversary of the day her husband died of cancer, at home hospice. Her battle with leukemia, coupled with some mistakes at a hospital, has left her with reduced liver, kidney, and lung function. She could, in a foolish act of heroism, not isolate herself. She could Glen Beck it, go out and about, economic guns ablazing, trying like hell to stimulate the economy, trying to save it, trying to save the country.

But she shouldn't, and she doesn't, and I love her for it.

Instead, she isolates herself so that she doesn't catch the disease, so that she doesn't infect others, so that she doesn't get transported to the hospital, so that she doesn't add to the burden that most hospitals will soon be facing, so that she doesn't deprive someone else of the medical care that might save their life. She flattens the curve as much as she can so that we can hang on until we have an effective treatment, so that we can save a million lives.

Glen Beck, apparently, doesn't believe in exponential growth. Things aren't so bad today, he seems to reason, and they might be worse tomorrow, but that still won't be so bad. He's dead wrong if he thinks anything like those thoughts I have improperly attributed to him.

People simply can't think in terms of exponential growth. To see exponential growth in effect as it pertains to the the coronavirus, take a peek at the following numbers, if you dare. They show the total confirmed cases in the U.S. at the end of each Tuesday.

Jan. 14  — 0
Jan. 21  — 1
Jan. 28 — 5
Feb. 4   — 11
Feb. 11  — 14
Feb. 18 — 25
Feb. 25 — 59
Mar. 3   — 125
Mar. 10  — 1,004
Mar. 17  — 5,902
Mar. 24 — 53,478

Do you want to make a guess at how many cases there will be next week? I'm going to guess that there will be somewhere between and quarter and a half million, and still accelerating. Do you want to make a guess at how many will be out there the week after next? How about the week after that?

We're starting to hear of infections among celebrities and politicians. Soon we'll be hearing of infections closer to home, among people we know. Soon thereafter, we may begin hearing of deaths among people we know, and love.

We're certainly going to be hearing of hospitals struggling to get through this. If we're not careful, we're going to hear horror stories of people dying in hospital hallways and waiting rooms, or in tents or makeshift triage shelters.

So, Glen Beck, don't go out and about. Recognize that the most vulnerable of us out there are the ones who must most thoroughly isolate, since we are the ones most likely to overburden our health care system, since we are the ones most likely to take others with us to the grave.

So, kind and gentle geezer readers, do not model your behavior after Glen Beck, who can sit behind a microphone in a home studio if he so chooses. Model yourself after my sister, who sits alone, heroically, with a smile and a sense of humor.

Stimulate the economy as she does. Purchase things, but purchase them from home. And leave a really nice tip for the younger, less-at-risk, less-likely-to-need-the-hospital generation. And thank them, sincerely, for their service.

Stimulate the economy as The Skeptical Spouse and I do, because we can still afford it. We are paying for routine services even when those services cannot being supplied. Today, we will be sending checks to the two small business people who routinely cut our hair. The checks are in the guise of informal, unwritten (probably-won't-be-strictly-enforced) gift cards for future redemption.

Stimulate the economy as best you can, given your unique set of circumstances. But, if you are a geezer, particularly if you are even more of a geezer than Glen Beck, don't be foolishly heroic by rushing headlong into a viral machine gun nest when an Abrams tank could do it more safely.

Be like my sister.

1 comment:

Sister said...

I am the Skeptical Sister and what I would like to say is my brother is correct in all that he writes and for that I love him with all my heart He is right I will stay self isolated, as he stated, so please stay well and stay home.

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