Lemmy sang, “don’t let ‘em grind ya down.”
Nine months in, here we are. I’m tired, but the marathon goes on. I’m happy that I’m living in Korea. I’m worried for my family back in Europe. I’m sad for the countries that have bent over to let the virus in.
By now we know enough.
Stopping the virus is simple, but hard to do.
We know it mostly spreads when people breathe, talk, shout, cough, and smooch.
Masks, distance, and hand-washing cut down transmission very well. Tracing and testing help mightily. These are all hundred-year-old public health technologies.
We also know for sure it’s much more serious than the flu. It kills roughly one out of every hundred people it infects. But it also leaves many survivors with permanent or long-term health consequences. Our treatments have improved, but prevention is still our best bet.
We also suspect no vaccine will be perfect, and it will be something we combine with the rest of our public health technologies.
Aside from the vaccines, we’re not using anything new to tackle this pandemic.
The coronavirus epidemic is a test we’re facing as societies, not individual, and it’s tried-and-tested social public health technologies that are going to help us pass or fail this test.
None of this is rocket science. All of this, aside from the vaccines we’re developing, are known technologies. There are no patents or limits on masks, on distancing, on hand-washing, on soap, on tracing. Testing is a bit newer and pricier, but it’s also pretty well known by now.
The only challenge is sticking to the prescribed social treatment. It’s simple, but hard to do consistently.
Like a marathon. A marathon is simple. One step at a time. Doing the whole thing takes a bit of stamina. A society, a country, has to work out and train to be able to do this kind of stuff.
But no country can pretend they didn’t know being able to run a marathon might be a good thing.
So for the big picture.
But the little picture grinds.
The far-right megachurch that holds a superspreader event and everything grinds to a halt again. The pastor recovers and keeps spewing bullshit. Korea.
Six months in and the national tv and radio station prioritizes anti-government protests and scandals while keeping the coronavirus public health instructions on metaphorical page three because it has an axe to grind against the current government. Slovenia.
The naked emperor. Guess where.
The 50-year-old brother who brings his 8-year-old maskless sun along to visit our 75-year-old mother. When she mentions that they should wear a mask, he spews bullshit, “It’s just the flu. They’re exaggerating to make money for the pharma companies.“
She replies, “Are you joking? Over a million people are dead!”
He responds, “They would have died anyway.”
Yes, the little picture really grinds sometimes.
To be obtuse and stupid is quite human. Quite ordinary. But there are times …