The cost of COVID
June 24, 2020
Black Lives Matter marches and protests around the country have had a secondary significant benefit beyond raising social awareness of race related issues in our society. It has put our elected officials in a position that they have little rational reason to reimpose the draconian measures associated with the COVID pandemic.
In my opinion, the overwhelming majority of the country imposed restrictions that did much more harm than good. Elected officials at all levels, from City Mayors to Governors and public health officials, seemed to be driven by what was happening in NYC at the time rather than the realities of their own state or community. There are rational arguments to be made that much of what we have been subjected to as a society is illegal as it was done by fiat and we are supposed to be a land of laws.
But a rational approach to the COVID pandemic would not have been a one size fits all approach but rather one tailored to each community and state. Instead it appeared that every governor, every mayor and every public heath official did not want to do less than the one that did the most.
What started out as a “flattening of the curve” because of the risk of overwhelming the hospital system became one of prevent the next case at all costs. And the costs are great. Even the medical system was negatively affected as hospitals were restricted from addressing anything but COVID unless it was a true life threatening event. As a result, while those doctors and nursing staffs specializing in respiratory therapies and other lung related illnesses were fully deployed in some areas, those whose speciality dealt with non-life threatening surgeries were out of business. As a result of the approaches taken, many restaurants, bars, local businesses and national chains are in bankruptcy today.
Pension funds are damaged, and public budgets at the state and local level are being forced to shrink. And the federal response to all of these largely unnecessary outcomes if for the Federal government to simply print trillions more money putting the nation even more in debt. Individuals from both parties have been quoted about not taking political advantage of a crisis.
The end result is significantly increasing society’s dependence on federal largesse.
It is no wonder that many today believe that government should “give them”-you pick the category.
It is time for us to go back to the need for everyone acting like adults again. As an adult who is squarely in the high risk age and health profile, I know that the likelihood of my contracting Covid is very low. I know contracting it from a beach reopening in Florida or a Trump rally in Tulsa are even less likely. I can choose to wear a mask. I can choose to self isolate. Just as at one point in time when second hand smoke was a big issue, I can choose not to go to a restaurant that does not have social distancing or mask requirements just as I can choose to go to one that does. And those restaurant owners should be able to choose whether they are a smoking or non-smoking establishment.
I know that wearing a mask might limit my risk of contracting Covid even more, but that should be my choice. And businesses should have the right to decide whether they require customers to wear them.I believe the government role ought to be one of making us aware of the best ways to avoid contracting Covid.
But the choice of whether or not we employ any or all of them is ours to make.
Our daily lives are full of risks and we know what many of them are. But as a responsible adult we make decisions as to whether or not we try to avoid them completely (a virtual impossibility) or take a reasoned approach to our own conduct. Had our government, at all levels, taken the approach of letting each of us deal with the risk of Covid by individual choice I think we would be much better off today. By doing that, many, if not the majority, of our states would have seen more cases to date but would also have been farther down the curve to so called herd immunization. And the cost to our society would have been a fraction of what it has been. And that is likely to become even greater as the Federal government appropriates trillions more in debt and prints the money to satisfy those debts to try to limit the devastation it has already created for our society.
We are far past the time that the decision as to how we live our lives were put back in our own hands.