Well, I figured I’d start blogging about this too.
The coronavirus is a pandemic originating from an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. It has affected the whole bloody globe. Here are some of the things I’m thinking about right now thanks to it.
Well, one thing is how fast opinion changes. One week ago, I had multiple friends who thought it was overblown. Elon Musk also thought that it was overblown. Now, nobody thinks that. This is a reminder to be epistemically humble, and also to pay attention to the data coming out.
Second is the curve. I’ve stayed inside my house (aside from a jog and a walk and groceries) for all of this week. It’s difficult to do, and my back aches because the chair seat is uncomfortable. But it’s what is necessary in order to maintain the integrity of our health care system. If we don’t self-isolate and maintain social distance, then people will all get sick at the same time and then the hospital system will break down. It’s really a pain though, not because we’re not occupied (I play minecraft and have lots of studying to do) but because there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
The government and scientists are not telling us how long we’re going to have to remain in such a chilled environment, although from what I’ve seen, it’s going to be at least one month. This really really sucks, and I think that we will grow too impatient with it. I for one just want to go grab the virus, get sick with it, recover in 2 weeks (hopefully), and be DONE with it! It’s really hard to conceptualize how a small little hedgehog-of-a-virus has flipped the entire world upside down.
The economy is in shambles. I had a job interview on Friday at a company I love and really wanted to work for; they cancelled it, probably because their revenue sources are drying up as well. Who knows what I’ll end up doing for money after I graduate. Many bars and restaurants are probably going to close down as well, if they’re unable to ride out the storm. My rental contract is going to end in 1.5 months, and I am afraid that I will be unable to see new places soon because everyone will be corona-averse. But at least I have some disposable income. Others don’t. I think homelessness will rise. Unlike France and Italy, rent payments haven’t been paused (yet).
Suicide rates will probably rise as well. People who can’t interact with their support networks will just wither away and die. People who have lost their jobs may just kill themselves. The worst case scenario? Someone looses their job, goes home to their ailing parent, and then infects them with COVID-19, which they got from the workplace. I pity that person.
There are also the people we are counting on: our doctors and nurses. They will have to self isolate themselves from their families in order to continue doing the work that they are doing. I read a twitter thread about this mother who just had her second child, her first is a toddler, and her husband is a doctor. They decided that it would be best for the father to move into the garage. Imagine that – not being able to go home and see your family because you fear you will infect them.
There are also the unsung heroes: the utilities people who work at the power plants, at the wastewater facilities, the bus drivers who continue to work despite the risks, and all of the people behind the counters of SaveOnFoods and Superstore and Walmart. The clerks especially are likely to contract illness, and yet they continue working. Our civilization is fragile, and it rests on their backs.
This virus has really opened my eyes to how fragile our society really is. Peterson and Paglia mentioned in their conversation how valuable stability and civilization are when you have faced the devastation of World Wars I and II. People back then would argue about … what … the ‘patriarchy’ and how it’s oppressive. This is so wrong! Our culture is protective, but also fragile. When I went grocery shopping today, most of the produce had disappeared. This was really depressing. It reminded me of the photos I saw of the great depression and of communist countries.
Then there’s also what’s happening on the world stage. China is using this virus as an opportunity to capture more international power for itself. They are sending out shipments of masks and tests to Italy when the EU could not. They are sending out shipments of masks and tests to the US, along with nearly all other countries who need it in the world. They have nearly floored their rate of new infected/day using their authoritarian techniques.
This is really disappointing, especially for the US. This is probably the first time I’ve been deeply deeply disappointed with Donald Trump. The US should have been the ones leading this, rather than the ones being caught with their pants down. I’m really disappointed with Trump and his administration. He probably started calling the Coronavirus the ‘Chinese’ virus in order to stop his fans from losing all faith in him. “We may be swirling down the toilet but at least I’m not politically incorrect!” Good Lord.
When this all ends, I’m going to try and become a shit ton more anti-fragile. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. That’s the goal.