200530 COVID-19 NYC

COVID-19’s nature* is to spread as widely as possible. All of humanity is its domain. Slowing its spread is a choice we make. Wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing to delay the inevitable range of COVID-19 are the tools we use. How hard and how serious we are willing to work to that end is also a choice. Life goes on in any event.

If you’ve chosen to live, you are probably in mourning right now. The sacrifices necessary for you to ensure survival are considerable. You’re crying for the people you won’t see, the places you won’t visit, and the difficulties you’ll have to endure. If you’re young, these will seem small and mostly insignificant. If you’re old, especially if you’re frail or have health issues and are not already catatonically frozen by fear, you will be soon.

We might see a vaccine sooner or later. It won’t change much. You will not be afraid of catching the disease, that’s true. When there are 40% of the population vaccinated, plus 30% who already had antibodies in their bloodstream, we will have herd immunity. That’s a politician’s speech. That’s only true in the aggregate. As an individual, you are just as susceptible to contracting the illness as ever. You may even be more prone to catching the disease since vaccinated people, and those with antibody immunities will get sloppy and less caring about their hygiene habits.

We have made similar risk/reward choices before. We “choose” to not drink from stagnant ponds because we know harmful bacteria to live there. We “choose” to cleanse a wound because we fear infection. We “choose” to not share silverware, dishes, or napkins with strangers. We “choose” to wash and clothe and protect ourselves in thousands of ways every day. We also ‘choose’ not to defend ourselves when the effort would be too high and the rewards too little. For example, we do not wipe down the seat in the eye-doctor’s waiting room since there was only ever a very slight chance of contracting disease there. Although just looking at my dentist’s waiting room furniture could make you ill. But that’s another story.

*The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Published by Allen Lubow

Inventor, critical thinking.

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