We live in a worst-feared alternative universe, living inside an online multi-option electronic comic book – pick an option, then go down some trail or path, choose the next opportunity – fight demon COVID-19, fight to the death, play the game to win, lose, or start again …
It’s not a video game; this is where geopolitics meets medicine, not Joe Versus The Volcano; real life. Or death, 100,000+ so far, probably millions worldwide before it’s over. Financial survival or death for many individuals and businesses in every country.
Worst case, best case, and what will actually happen – three points to consider on this continuum of life, of this risk-reward continuum; three points of reference for us to all consider right now.
Whether we are looking at the global economy, quality of life in our country, or our personal quality of and length of life (and by personal I mean either our own, or our friend or family member we are worried about).
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”– Charles Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities
Pick your city or country, the modeled predictions are a function of calculating spread, calculating the scope of health care systems to cope with the load – every jurisdiction seems insufficiently equipped, staffed, and resourced. The less they have, the worse it will get …
Worst case: we all die.
Best case: less than50% of people on ventilators die, the curve gets flattened everywhere, someone develops an effective immunization for all of us within 18 months, we nearly all get vaccinated, bad people get exposed, profiteers get prosecuted, failed-states get new governments, we find safer, kinder, gentler ways to be healthier, stay safe, and take better care of the planet
Actual case: some point between those extremes of best or worst
- someone who will discover/create an effective vaccine
- quality of life, as we believe it should be
This is like the lottery – someone will guess accurately, what will happen, and with that knowledge, make ‘all the right moves’ to come through this period in history on top.
Let’s define ‘On Top’ a best-case scenario:
- still living
- better off than before COVID-19
- and we must realize, the best case scenario only turns out that way in the video game, in the comic-book, and we have as good a chance of sailing through this as if we buy a lottery ticket
So, what’s the real risk; are we risking everything, or nothing – aiming for best case, worst case – or somewhere between?
No point trying to ‘win’ anywhere but where you are because we cannot travel.
I’m comfortable with the notion my lifestyle and community will survive. We’ve had strong-medicine of widespread suppression measures. Alberta is doing well, and Canada is stacking up well against other countries.
I worry about the U.S., our close-proximity neighbor. I’m lack confidence they are faring well at anything but political spin, and one could easily argue they aren’t doing well at that, because their facts keep catching up to their false-boasts. Americans should be frightened. As a friend next door, I’m frightened for you, and concerned your virus spread won’t be suppressed.
I’m worried about Asia, India in particular.
And Africa is scary, because their ratio of hospital beds, doctors, nurses to population look like the decimal is in the wrong place. It is not. Their ability to cope will be dire, at best.
Best vs. Worst – the future will come, whether we want it to or not. This COVID-19 virus is no different I suppose than any other naturally occurring things – it has a mind, timetable, and agenda of its own – and our ability to tame it, defeat it, or eliminate it is futile. We have to learn to live with our virus.
We’ve been living with lots of viruses for a long time – many variations of the common cold, all those childhood diseases, ones we don’t encounter where we live, but we know they are widespread still, like Malaria and dengue fever. This one, hopefully, will not kill us all before someone develops a vaccine to protect us from it. Like an insurance policy. Until then, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and stay a safe distance from everyone.
I read the other day there is a shortage of condoms – all that latex being directed to rubber glove manufacture.
Maybe we’ll have a second-wave of COVID-19, perhaps not.
But we’ll probably have a baby-boom and an STD boom. Not so much from the condom shortage, but from a surge of activity once we can get physically close to each other again – we’ll be making like rabbits.
Speaking of bunnies, chocolate ones, happy Easter!
But to close on a serious note, it feels like this should be a time when we all feel we are together in this – needing each other, helping each other, sharing/mirroring best practices. But we aren’t. We are in the midst of a global situation at the same time, but we are not acting together.
Reported statistics and government leaders are not to be trusted blindly – not that they ever should be, but the lessons being learned are not being shared, celebrated, and used as preparation for being better prepared for the next one of these. Some might scoff at my cynicism, but when the President of the United States dismissed reports from his own intelligence services in November and December – and now lambasts the W.H.O. for not acting quickly enough (they started sounding the alarm in December), when he still denied there was a significant problem in late January, challenges the credibility of a once-great country. It’s not just the Chinese and Russians whose statements and statistics are dubious disinformation, or as his administration calls it, alternative facts.
Where our health is concerned, whether we are infected, or not, recovered or not, there should be no alternative to facts. The ‘fact’ that 1-1.5% of the world’s population might die from COVID-19 seems innocent enough, because most deaths will be people we don’t know, people far away, which is not the scary part of course, but rather that 1.5% might be 4.0%, or more. It seems, there are so many variables that every fact could be an alternative.
You are one more avenue to keep communications open to the outside world. After five days, I am beginning to feel some of the effects of self-isolation but now more than ever your daily responses to life and situations is more important than ever. Keep smiling Mark and keep commenting. I am so glad that I have kept up with your column, even if I have not read it every day. Now I certainly have the time and need the outside thoughts. I suspect that I will be taking the time to access some of your archived writings now that my community interactions have been greatly reduced, WF, Valleyview, AB