I don’t know the truth of the protests against the lockdowns — there seems to be a lack communicate as to what is going on, especially since the same photo of a fellow carrying a flag with a swastika is being shown in various far-flung locations. But that is nothing new — the same photo that supposedly showed the crowds on the newly-opened Florida beaches ended up in California newspapers, ostensibly showing people on those beaches too. It was an old photo, anyway. Friends who have been to the beach posted photos of the truth — that the few people who are making use of the beaches are staying far away from one another.
I’m not a protester at heart. Nor am I protesting this current situation (though I do question it), but I can understand why people are protesting.
Considering that more than half the deaths of this current virus occurred in the New York metropolitan area, and considering that 21% occurs in 41 other states combined, you can see the scope of the problem — people are being forced out of their jobs for something that is not really affecting them, and might not ever affect them.
In Colorado, the majority of deaths are in the front-range cities, and those are the cities getting the money from the stimulus bill, though the economies of the less populated and poorer counties are every bit as devastated, especially since they have had to prepare for an emergency that hasn’t yet happened. (Apparently, those front-range counties got the money directly, and the rest was sent to Colorado to distribute to the rest of the counties, but as of now, the state is keeping the funds to offset a shortfall in their budget.)
The measures that are being taken to prevent an outbreak are killing people, just in a different way. There is already an ongoing fight to keep the economy alive here in my corner of Colorado because the Colorado legislature wants to demolish the private prison system that is the single major employer left in the area. With that gone, with small businesses gone, with no money from the stimulus package, many services in this and other counties will be suspended indefinitely, especially those catering to the most vulnerable people — the very people they are trying to “protect’ with their draconian measures.
No one around here is protesting. No one is really even complaining, though people are hurting., not just financially, but culturally and socially. People who have looked forward to high school graduation exercises — both students and parents — are being denied that right of passage. This is a town of churchgoers, and they are all being denied the comfort of those gatherings. Town festivals and other activities that bring money to the area are cancelled. People want things to go back to normal as soon as possible, and eventually, the highly populated places will be able to return to a semblance of normality since they have a big enough tax base and enough people to get things going again, but that does not hold true in the small areas that are following the rules but have no severe outbreaks. In the entire southeast section of the state, there have been a total of 23 cases, and 1 death. People say these state-wide measures are necessary to protect us, but protect us from what?
There was a terrible flu going around here at the end of December, the worst flu most people who got it ever had, with fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing. Considering that this corona virus has been around since the middle of November, and people have been traveling around the world during that time, it’s entirely possible this area has already had its outbreak. There was a terrible outbreak in West Virginia around that same time, and that has been identified as this same virus or a mutation of it.
I keep saying no one knows the truth of this situation and it’s true — there are so many different aspects that are being shoved into the shadows because they don’t fit anyone’s agendas. No one, certainly, wants to even mention the possibility of a previous outbreak and the questions that would arise from it.
A huge irony to this situation is that hospitals are going broke. People with cancer and other severe diseases aren’t being treated. Elective surgeries and any surgery that isn’t absolutely necessary are being postponed. All to make way for a crisis that in many cases isn’t occurring. The end death rate of the virus will be the same whether or not we have lockdowns. Lockdowns can slow the spread but not stop it (unless we continue them forever or force people to get a hurried-up vaccine that so many do not want). The initial point of the lockdowns was to save the hospital system, but the hospital system in most areas is under no strain at the moment. In fact, people who have had to go to the hospital are shocked by how unbusy they are. So what is the point of lockdowns now? Even worse, when the crisis has more or less passed and hospitals revert to a more normal operating agenda, the backlog of case will overwhelm the system for years to come.
Not all countries are doing lockdowns. (Sweden, for one, is pretty much continuing business as usual.) Moderate social distancing seems to work as well as keeping people at home.
One of the most interesting statistics I read (and cannot find the source again) is that the overall death rate right now is no higher than it normally is. Partly, this disease is nowhere near as fatal as it was assumed to be — in various studies, half the people tested either had it or have it with no symptoms, which brings the death rate more in line with the seasonal flu. And partly most deaths in both cases (this virus and the seasonal flu) belong to the same demographic. The elderly. The immuno-compromised. The frail and vulnerable. People who are at risk no matter what happens.
To me, one of the most damming aspects of this whole situation is how politicized it is. A medical crisis should be just that — a medical crisis, not a power grab by various factions who only have their own interests in mind, people who want to control us.
We all have our own interests in mind, of course, but most of us are putting up with these draconian measures because we believe that life matters. We are willing to protect the weak and vulnerable. But only up to a point, and that point is when we lose our livelihoods and even homes. (Although some mortgage companies and landlords are making concessions to these perilous times, others are not.)
And so the devastation continues.
Some people are still afraid of getting sick, but more and more, people are afraid of what is going to happen in the future. And they are getting angry. They want answers. They want information and proper statistics. The statistics we are getting are skewed — it’s been mandated that the medical profession be aggressive when listing causes of death, so there is no way to know how many people died with the virus or of the virus. The version the “official” experts offer as to what is going on is not the same as the version non-politicized experts are offering. No one knows who to believe, so they pick their level of truth, and they stick to it.
This disease is not a hoax, but the way it is presented to us makes the measures combatting this disease seem like a hoax especially the way they keep downplaying the false “facts” that the whole lockdown scenario was based on. These “facts” were nothing more than a projection, which turned out to be far less than accurate, which even the “official’ experts now admit. And a projection is just that — a projection. One possible scenario. And from that has been extrapolated all the hardships that are being dished up to us.
Although I am feeling as if I am being unjustly imprisoned (especially since Colorado will be extending the stay at home orders for seniors only), I would follow the procedure anyway. I don’t like getting sick, but quite frankly, that is my business. If people don’t want to get sick, they too can stay home. But I am not sick. Nor is anyone around here. (Except from allergies. So many of us are dealing with dry coughs and sinus congestion that has nothing to do with any flu.)
But I can understand why people are protesting. They are not sick. They don’t know anyone who is sick. They don’t know anyone who died, and yet they are forced into a situation where they stand to lose so very much.
At the same time, there were (and are) those who scream for the government to do something.
This whole situation has gone on too long to simply open the doors and tell people to go about their business, because there would be repercussions from that, too. But it’s gone on too long not to do that very thing.
I don’t know what the answer is. And the truth is, that no matter what the “experts” say, no one does.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.