We, humans, are a social species. Why we are still seeing people at bars and restaurants. Some should know better. They are healthcare providers or even government officials. Some are just idiots going to enjoy the last of the nightlife before it’s inevitably closed. They are going, it’s my right as an American. And in normal circumstances, they would be correct. But these are not normal times.
All of them will soon face mandatory reality. You need to stay at home, and just go out to get supplies, go to the pharmacy, or work. These are the rules right now in Italy and Spain. These will come to your city soon.
But we have the right to free movement? Again, in normal circumstances, you would be correct. During the 1919 epidemic guard, troops patrolled some American cities to ensure this happened. We are going to see both military and police patrols to enforce this, at least in some places. In 1919, just like today, some municipalities acted faster than others. They thought it would help in places like St. Louis where work was staggered, and all public events were canceled. It worked. They had no name for this. We do now: Social distancing.
So how do you get ready? Because there is a psychology to this and we all are going to have to adapt to this mandatory time at home. The first is that you need to stop denying this is happening. It’s a normal human response. And unlike war, it’s not like you can see the aggressor. We are still seeing deep denial in social media, and even among family. This is where a president not giving mixed messages all the freaking time would have helped. The best the president can do is stop Tweeting and stop talking. Let the experts speak. We know he will inevitably do damage by contradicting them. He wants low numbers after all…we are climbing the exponential chart. Soon numbers will be through the roof.
It is time to ignore the chief executive. His rants and raves are uninformed and designed to stroke his ego, and reelection.
As much as we all would like to hide our heads in the sand, you must watch reliable information. This is both at the local level and at the national and international levels. This does not mean watching news 24/7, but at least try the evening news in any of the networks.
Fox News must get journalists, and cancel all the tendentious shows by Fox personalities. They are already responsible for the death of real people. And the particular demographic that mostly watches Fox has been lied to for long enough. The National Enquirer must stop with its tendentious headlines. This is one reason for the denial and toxic conspiracy theories. In a time of war, there is control of information. We are at a similar point. All conspiracy-laden sites must come down, and people need the mathematics explained in simple terms. You multiply the same amount over and over. The virus will infect on average three people on average. So patient zero 1x3=3 3x3= 9 9x9=81.
This is why the cases are starting to grow fast, and why we can project the numbers from diagnosed cases. If you stay home and get it, another three people will not get infected. Incidentally, I kept the math extremely basic just to make the point. Here you go, the actual mathematics for bacteria.
Here is a cold reality. We could, under current calculus, in the worst-case scenario lose over a million Americans. As real data comes in, we will be able to get a grip on the actual numbers. For that, we need widespread testing. The country needs to bring in World Health Organization tests, and mass-deploy them. We must also admit some people are getting rich from this. Jared Kushner comes to mind. Oscar, he owns stock. If you think they are not getting preference. I have a bridge for sale.
We have some agency here. If we are all responsible and stay home as much as we can, we will not overwhelm hospitals as much. Meaning, more people will not die, because we will stress, but not collapse, the medical system.
So consider this social distancing a patriotic duty. We are fighting a war, even if the enemy is unseen.
Cabin fever…I get it.
So here are some things to do.
Organizing the house.
Picking up a hobby, or now you have time for it.
Try a new recipe. Trust me, we will all have to be creative with canned goods. If you have grandma’s cookbook from World War Two, share them on social media.
Talk to friends and family, on the phone.
Talk to a friend you have not contacted in some time.
Exercise, YouTube has plenty of videos, and there is software like Asana Rebel. It will also lower your cortisol level, this is good.
Get some books, catch up with your reading
Avoid hospitals unless you are sick
Create a schedule for your daily activities, and yes, you can open a window.
Don’t go to restaurants.
Don’t go to movie theaters.
Don’t go to bars.
Don’t travel unless absolutely necessary.
Don’t spread rumors. And stop minimizing this.
If your church or temple is still running services, don’t go, they should close soon completely. And they should move to virtual services as of now.
Social distancing requires all of us to listen to facts, believe in science, and stop playing games. Oh, and a day of prayer is fine, as long as we do the rest. It will not hurt, and for some people prayer matters. Just do it at home.
Will all this do great damage to the economy? Yes. That we also need to know and accept. When we come out of this, we will have to rebuild sectors of the economy.