July 14, 2020

Community vs. Individual Concerns in the Time of Pandemic

What is needed to control the coronavirus until a vaccine is available, we are told, is extensive testing and effective contact tracing. We should all be wearing masks and be distancing from one another. This will allow us to identify outbreaks and quickly contain them. There is general agreement, except in the White House, that we have not yet achieved effective control of the virus by these means.

We must recognize, however, that even if we have readily available testing and contact tracing, and people are wearing masks and avoiding getting close to one another, individuals are not immune to catching the virus. Some people will be infected, and they may get sick and possibly die. The benefit to the community is that fewer people will become sick, and a good deal of economic activity can resume with reduced risk. The heavy burden currently being felt by hospitals, EMS personnel, and funeral homes will be substantially reduced, and the nation will be a happier place.

The one bright note for individuals is that the medical establishment is learning how better to treat COVID-19 patients. There is still no cure, but treatment is improving, and one’s chance of surviving a COVID-19 hospitalization has improved. Because, even with extensive testing and contract tracking, individuals are not immune to getting sick, however, it is wise to do everything you can to stay well—wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and avoid people—especially crowds of people—as much as possible. If you can, stay home and watch Netflix or read War and Peace.

Good luck surviving this pandemic.

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