In North America, we’ve reached an odd point in our collective COVID-19 experience. Government leaders, in daily statements, are trying to strike a balance of two diametrically opposed positions. On the one hand, they hammer home the importance, for everyone’s benefit, of staying home. While also dropping hints about getting the economy restarted. Unless we can all work from home via the Internet, and that may be tricky for so many people (dentists, plumbers, lion-tamers) restarting the economy is going to have to wait.
I understand that for some people the concept of self-isolating is becoming a nuisance. In fact, I dare say most people would much rather return to their work-a-day lives instead of quarantining. Socializing, meeting friends for a drink, attending religious services, are all things that people have given up in the interest of overall societal well-being. And, be the good Lord willing, we will be able to return to these activities sooner rather than later. But not now.
It’s one thing to gripe about the tedium of self-isolation, and quite another to break the law and ignore the safeguards put in place. Some people, who refer to themselves as anti-isolationists, have flouted calls to stay indoors and have in defiance attended large gatherings. Many wield such astute signs as Self-Isolation = Communism evidently in an effort to, successfully, display their vast ignorance. Not only are these rallies illegal, but they are downright dangerous. And not only to the actual participants but to those with whom they may come in contact later.
One woman, when interviewed, said that she was fed up with being inside all day every day. Well, now, clearly that’s a good reason to disregard the law and logic to meet-up with others and endanger many. Surely the virus can tell who is fed up and will not affect them. Just being fed up is not a reason to abandon common sense. If just being fed-up made you immune to something, I suspect we’d have a cancer-free world as I imagine all cancer patients must be pretty fed-up with it.
But let’s say the government does decide to slowly reopen the economy. Perhaps, as some have hinted, starting with the construction industry which employs thousands. While the rest of us continue to maintain social distancing, is it realistic to expect such personal space adherence by workers on construction sites? If the threat of the virus is still real enough to demand isolation for most, how can workers on construction sites be at less risk?
Some of those who work on construction will no doubt take public transit to get to and from their jobs. After spending the day in close proximity to fellow workers, is it a good idea for them to get on buses and Metro trains?
For that matter is using public transit during this pandemic a good idea for anyone? I am a fairly regular strap-hanger (not since isolating, of course) and I just can’t picture being able to sustain a healthy distance on a bus or Metro car even with the reduced number of riders since COVID-19 reared its ugly head.
I believe that when the time comes that health professionals inform government leaders that the virus is no longer a threat to the day-to-day functioning of society we should undertake a return to normal in one shot. Rip off the Band-Ade fast, don’t peel it off slowly. Until such time, say at home. There’s no point in reopening the economy if there are no people left to benefit!