To all those who follow me and live in places where the economy is re-opening little by little. This is not a post about my stories, but a note I felt obligated to write because my conscience (which I know exists in others as well, even if they express it in a different way or do not know how to express it) would not allow me to simply shut it up in the present situation. I have already shared this post on my personal page for my friends and family, but felt it important to also share it more at large. It might cause a certain number to unfollow me–who knows. But perhaps not. Regardless, I am able to speak to this topic, and social responsibility requires that I do it.
I, too, can’t wait for things to go back to “normal.” But I would like to give you a piece of advice, if you will receive it. As you know, reopening the doors does not mean that the virus is gone and will no longer be able to enter your home or my home to attack someone to multiply itself. In fact, it is still here, and persons who seem to be in perfect health (so you and I, too) can carry it and pass it on to someone who will be affected by it, perhaps even to someone we love and who is most at risk. So, I advise everyone to continue to be careful no matter what the others do. Don’t we already take care when we have the flu? Don’t we choose to not visit, and if we visit, stay away from others so as not to infect them?
In this case, it’s better to be even more careful. Especially since the vaccines will not be available for a long time (despite all the hub hub and contradictory stories in the news) and curative medications are not yet ready either (like Remdesivir that made the news this week) and will not be available in large quantities (if they are proven to be safe and effective) for several months still. I, myself–when things start reopening next week in Pennsylvania–will continue to keep away from people for a while, until we see what happens, because I have no desire to experiment with my life or with that of others who might be more susceptible to the virus than I am (if I am resistant to it, which is not certain because the fact that I am not at the hospital is not a proof of resistance but might simply be the result of me not getting exposed). And I especially do not want to take a risk with the life of those I love. I may have the right to experiment with the societies of my stories, but this is reality, and I do not have the same right to take whatever risk I wish regardless of the consequences to others.
I say this because even during the ongoing quarantine, we’ve seen and continue to see people who couldn’t care less about the risk they pose to others. They congregate in parks or at their neighbors’ houses because they are healthy and believe they won’t get sick. That may be perfectly true, but they may nevertheless pass on the virus to someone in their house who needs and wishes to be safe. When someone behaves this way, they are in effect making a personal decision that takes away the rights of others to be safe. Indeed, it is no different than if someone had an STD and wasn’t showing it and decided to have [unprotected] sex without telling their partner. But in this case, most of us do not even know we are carriers, and choosing to congregate and resume normal social interactions and then going home and possibly exposing others to the virus is simply irresponsible.
We are members of a society, living in a society, and as such, we have obligations to it too and not just to ourselves. So, even though restrictions will soon be lifted everywhere, it is important that we remain vigilant and continue to keep a certain social distance–even wearing masks–until we see what happens as a result of ending the quarantine.
At least, we can hope that the hospitals have had the time to equip themselves a little better, and that those who will fall ill as the quarantine is lifted will be able to be treated and return home without serious consequences. If so, then the coronavirus—if it stays around—will be little different from the illness and deaths caused by other infectious disease, and we will adjust to a new normal and eventually accept the deaths that will come when someone gets ill and cannot be saved. But I wonder if hospitals will continue to prevent families from visiting those who end up there to be treated for the coronavirus.
We do need to reopen the economy as the quarantine is not sustainable. But even if laws and rules don’t keep us from resuming normal social interactions, then we—as individuals who are members of a society—must choose to continue to be careful by setting our own personal limits and helping others understand that their choices may affect not just them, but everyone around them too. And hopefully, we can avoid falling down the steps like in Peter Griffin’s case.