A little knowledge, a dangerous thing; more often, it illustrates more ignorance than it celebrates our intellect. Most supplements to everyday parlance leak (lately, a tsunami of new terms) into conversation; we’ve glanced at a graph, TV screen, or website – half-listening to newscasts, immediately thinking we know what we are discussing.
A graphing phenomenon, dependent on how you build/graph statistics, surely the childhood dream of every statistic – to grow large enough to be graphed – to be significant enough to be on a graph, and then to experience flattening.
Nobody flattens this COVID-19 curve.
Collective behavior, 7.5 billion people, given rise so far to over 4 million cases and more than 280,000 deaths – all caused by one microscopic virus first found in one pin-point on the globe.
Stopping spread, detecting, and containing – isolating it, stomping it out – at least stomping it down, seems to be a sport, scientists playing something akin to what polo is for rich people, with lots of swinging, grunting, and horsepower yet dodgy results, massive expense, massive impact on our way of life, carnage for every country’s economy.
Now back to the curve, and my trouble with it.
Like terms we’ve become accustomed to, we quickly grow numb to its use, desensitized to its message. Collectively, we’ve become weary of many inconveniences.
We feel helpless – while aching for a remedy. Not a remedy for our body, but a placebo for our mind, which is making a quantum shift from dismissing how we saw the world to make room in our mind for the way we must now see an altered present and contemplate an unforeseeable future.
The curve, showing ‘decrease in hospitalizations,’ is a graphic and numerical measurement of something – but it isn’t so many things. It isn’t safety. Isn’t guidance for anyone, it isn’t a cure, isn’t a treatment, isn’t a solution to any problem – and isn’t a vaccine. It just isn’t.
So what is a curve? Much like a pitch in baseball by the same name, it is something spherical being hurled at us with speed and force. It is deceptive and doesn’t travel as we might expect – defying our hand-eye coordination, but not defying physics. This virus, this novel coronavirus we’d come to know and hate called COVID-19, makes H1N1 seem like slow-pitch.
John Naisbitt’s brilliant Megatrends in 1982 – he’s a futurist; his technique, measuring data, frequency of items, phrases, and subjects – clues and direction derived from what was written in periodicals – newspapers mainly, tools for measuring. While Gallup, Nielsen, and many others were poll-taking, Naisbitt instead tracked/analyzed what people were writing about, what they were reading – revealing mood, and trends.
Lessons enuring to my benefit but sadly haven’t made me rich. Megatrends made me more aware of how the media is a mirror for us, and we need to look into it to see what everyone is thinking, and which way the proverbial trend-wind is blowing. Social media is similarly, I believe, a measure of something too. I’m not skilled in psychology or anthropology to be able to dissect that, but this deserves a more in-depth understanding if we are going to draw lessons and guidance from it.
P.S.: here’s a little news for you – some experts are now suggesting that COVID-19, while it attacks lungs, is maybe not so much a respiratory illness, as a cardio-vascular condition – and statistics are starting to show the massive impact on people with hypertension/high blood pressure, and obesity. Maybe our best weapons against COVID-19 are throwing away the salt-shaker, taking our blood pressure, and eating/exercising our way to better health … tic toc
I like this strategy of stating my goals as if they have happened; actually accomplished in the past. It takes all the pressure off so I can actually go ahead and work on it. Brilliant! Working on it as we speak. Thanks Mark, CG, Cobourg, ON