In The Worst Of A Crisis, Can Behavior Get Any Worse?
Like many areas of the United States, my locality is dealing with the Covid19 crisis as best as it can. Eight months in, scientists and our government leaders still struggle to learn about this pandemic, how to treat it, and how to prevent it. All politics aside, as the US is quickly approaching 200,000 dead Americans, and over six million Americans infected, there is no denying the reality of this crisis.
As a long term cancer survivor, having various issues related to my health history, I am considered “vulnerable”. Needless to say, I pay very close attention to details and data, that I gather personally from the medical professionals that I deal with personally.
From the beginning, I saw the line drawn in the sand that instead of drawing us together as other national emergencies have done, instead pitted us against each other. Throughout our history, we have dealt with major epidemics from measles to polio to the flu of 1918. We know when faced with a health crisis like this, they are real. People actually died.
Which is what is maddening to me. Right from the gate, when we were warned about Covid19, and a decision was made to downplay the serious and mistaken potential of spread, our country had done what it had never done before, denied reality. But why? Because, instead of saying to ourselves, “hey, this is getting really serious,” some decided to take the approach, “don’t attack the president.”
If anyone has been witness to a brush fire, and living in Florida I have experienced that, it does not take long for a spark to ignite and spread to 10,000 acres. And it depends on how much time you waste, grabbing the water bottle over by the rock to pour on the growing flames, or reaching out for the professionals that determines the devastation.
In the case of Covid19, “a bottle of water” was poured, denial that it was serious enough to require extra attention. And that denial actually exploded to a full blown inferno, as some reinforced their protection of the decisions by the president, to calling it a hoax. Keep in mind, a hoax gets defined as something not real. Nearly 200,000 dead Americans alone from Covid19. Far from a hoax.
The strategies to deal with this crisis only made things worse. And we can argue constitutionality til the cows come home. We have today has not worked. We needed a plan from the top. Instead, it got passed down to the states to fend for themselves, and then within the states, leadership said it was up to the local governments to figure things out. I am going to get to that cluster-F in a moment.
We have the professionals in place to tell us what we need to do. Whether they come in the form of mandates or recommendations, they will help. But again, that boils down to leadership, on all levels, to acknowledge and set example of following the recommendations, most made by the CDC. And that should be all there is to it.
But the problem is this. Our federal government has teeth. Our state governments have teeth. Our local governments try, and if faced with unsurmountable criticism and objections, may not withstand doing the things that are recommended, instead falling on the “common sense of the people to do the right thing.” And if the people do not do the “right thing,” enforcement or mandates are met with resistance. And it is the “why” of the resistance that make no sense to me.
A couple of months ago, our county held an emergency meeting to determine safety precautions that our federal and state governments would not do. I will only discuss the one option, as it is the one getting the most attention. The county was taking a vote on mandating masks in public. Again, this is something recommended by the scientists at helping to reduce the spread of this deadly virus. It is something that all people with “common sense” should see as a good thing.
I did not take notes of that meeting, but it was quite contentious. Most of the public speakers spoke against any mandate. I really do not recall their reasons. Unfortunately I missed any professional testimonies that were given most likely to support the mandate. The mandate went through by a vote of 3-2 and would go until last week when another meeting would be held to discuss renewing or letting the mandate expire.
This meeting, I paid a lot more attention to, because I follow the numbers for various reasons, not just because I am a nerd. I have reasons besides my health for knowing if we are getting better or worse. So, the first part of the meeting, I did hear the testimonies of the local professionals, doctors on the front lines, who brought data to support the success of the efforts of the mask mandate since it was first imposed. The information was all there in black and white, lower cases, lower hospitalizations, and lower deaths. Our county had been on an upward climb until that mandate, and now the numbers were lower. And really, that should have been the end of that. If you want to know how to make a good chicken florentine, you ask a chef. If you want to find out how to change out a transmission on a car, you ask a mechanic. If you want to know how to deal with a lethal pandemic, you ask the doctors and scientists.
Following the testimony of the local medical professionals, came public commentary. And as the title of my post suggests, it was not good. If I had to guess, those opposed to extending the mandate made up maybe 80% of the public comments. But it was their reasoning, and their methods that left me shaking my head in disbelief in what I was witnessing. The comments about wearing a mask, made as much sense as someone taking something out of an oven without oven mitts.
The following is the list of arguments against wearing something, while not perfect or guaranteed, could still have a positive impact on getting through this crisis:
My choice faith will get us through charts by professionals prove nothing death counts fake social engineering experiment health department conspiracy silent majority are fed up lack of intelligence stats are inconclusive right to breathe freely rights and freedoms media propoganda personal responsibility lunacy busy living fear porn Natzi rule moving the goalposts totalianarianism wearing a diaper on the face about an election seizure of property oath of the government to protect the constitution not the people overreach communism hoax being lied to okay with dying medical negligence and finally, pharmaceutical profits.
I intentionally left out commas, because I wanted it to be a list, but when I typed it up, I realized how long it made the post look, and did not want that appearance. But among all of these reasons people gave not to wear a mask (some were repeated), they were also follow up with insults and threats.
I was shocked. We are dealing with a major crisis, likely to kill 500,000 Americans before we have any kind of control over it, and people are actually threatening and insulting government officials trying to do something to help us get through this. But beyond the insults and threats, look again at the list given against masks. Do you see any reference to even recognizing the virus as real? Do you see anyone relate to any personal experiences with Covid19? Do you see anyone offering any other possible solutions? Clearly there are those who want to make this pandemic end and they are doing what they can, and then there are those who are doing all that they can to prevent it from ending.
And this is what is referred to as being politically driven. And this is going to kill even more people. There is no world order out there trying to wipe out millions of the world’s population. And while our president DID NOT create this virus, we relied on his leadership, just as we did with Roosevelt, Truman, Carter, Reagan, Bush (both), Clinton, and Obama, we needed this president to lead us through this crisis. And yes, that same group of people who made up that list of complaints against masks, see this as an attack on the president they vehemently support. And I get the concept of support, just not at all costs, especially if it involves lives.
I do still have faith in our scientists and doctors. I have no reason to trust otherwise. And it is a shame, because I honestly believe, that had the right decisions been made sooner, we could have been done with this, at least under control, in three months or less. Now, we are entering our eighth month, and into a time period, this virus is expected to increase in cases and deaths.
I will finish with actually agreeing with one of the negative comments, to a degree. How we get through this is personal responsibility, with the information that we have been given and recommended to do. But as the numbers continue to climb, it is clear that not enough are exercising that personal responsibility.
And that is disappointing.