Don’t you wish you could freely visit family members, work at your office, take your spouse out to dinner, walk the streets without wearing those damn masks and send your children off to school each morning? Well, don’t expect to do these things too soon. Many Americans and many government officials are being especially careful and conservative as they protect their loved ones, co-workers and constituents.
Supposedly, 94% of Americans who die from the coronavirus had pre-existing conditions. That means you have very little chance of dying unless you have a pre-existing medical issue. The list of ailments is available from many sources. These favorable odds present interesting possibilities along with extremely difficult considerations for our leaders.
Should political and health authorities make decisions assuming that anyone who contracts the virus can die? Americans make decisions all the time that are based upon the odds of dying or being injured, such as smoking, driving a car, skydiving and travelling on an airplane.
The risk of getting sick is approximately the same for everyone. If two people attend the same beer party, don’t wear masks, don’t distance and don’t wash their hands, they probably have about the same odds of getting sick (at least as far as we know). But, if one of these people has asthma, he or she has a much greater chance of perishing from the disease.
As our president, governors, mayors, business CEOs, teachers and heads of families make decisions about how to live, work and socialize, should they do things that defy the odds? This could be decisions that decrease or increase the odds of mortality. It depends upon the exact odds, one would suppose.
Take going to school, rather than studying from home. If a healthy child has practically zero chance of dying, shouldn’t a decision to send the child to school be a legitimate choice? Keep in mind, the child may have a meaningful chance of contracting the virus and being sick for up to two weeks.
Similarly, the CEOs of companies must decide whether to order their employees back to the office. If they know who is vulnerable, who has existing conditions and/or advanced age, they could reasonably demand that employees come to work, excluding those at risk.
Similarly, the president, who is responsible for the safety of 340 million American must decide how to set a pace for a return to normalcy while encountering scores of different opinions. For sure, he or she must ensure that masking, distancing and washing are employed. But when does the president say it’s time to reinvigorate our economy? It probably should be when he is sure a vast number of Americans will not die from the coronavirus, more so than whether Americans might contract the virus.
In recent history, the presidents of the United States did not shut down the country for measles and mumps. These viruses infected millions, and the vast majority of sufferers did not die, unless they had pre-existing conditions.
When will Americans get back to normalcy? Are we going to have our lives be disrupted in perpetuity, or are we prepared to play the odds? The odds would have us be extra careful about vulnerable people who have a high chance of dying if they contract coronavirus.
And of course, there are less then all-in options. Certain activities are more dangerous than others. The menu is great and includes eating inside restaurants, going to the movies, going the health clubs, going to bars and the like. With proper precautions, we can live relatively safely and participate in these activities.