Diary

Challenging Times


I don’t know how anyone else is handling daily life with the Coronavirus but I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m finding it difficult to fight off the psychological aspects of depression that result simply from confinement.

I am fine about reasoning out the rational understanding of what’s happening, why, and what the likely outcomes might be. That is sobering but I’m not panicking and I’m not depressed about that. There have been tough times for humans all the way through history; we ought not to expect to be spared just because we think we’re an advanced culture.

Dealing with the effects of a more sedentary lifestyle, of not being able to be out among other humans interacting with them — that’s a different story altogether. But, in my organized sort of way it’s something that I consciously think about every single day and I work at countering the frustration and the discouragement in conscious ways. Keep my brain active even if my body is stuck in one place; and when worse comes to worse I can alway go out into the very short hallway and do stairs for exercise!

I don’t know how many of you have seen a chart like this. This one was made by an associate and it scares the bejeezus out of me. Not because the virus is so deadly — after all the death rate has been hovering around 10% which although it is bad it’s not as bad as other pandemics that have decimated earth. But the thing that scares me is the angle of ascendancy on that U.S. curve. In part because we know that because of the lack of test kits we are not actually testing all that many of our citizens and that the number of cases is probably much higher. We here in the U.S. are seeing more acceleration of the infection rate than other countries did at the same “time-since-the-100th-case”. And that speaks to the fact that:

  • a lot of people aren’t cooperating with the voluntary restraints
  • a lot of people are skeptical about the real threat and won’t be easily convinced
  • we have a larger population than most of the nations we are tracking — so that the potential for loss of life is a lot greater.

It’s true that our population density is lower than a lot of countries. But we sort of compensate for the advantage of not being crammed into such tight spaces by also being the richest country and therefore the most accessible to transportation. We can easily undo all the good that some of are doing by self-isolating by letting other people travel wherever they want — and we can afford to do so.

One of the dangers is that with a healthcare system that is profit based, we never saw the need for excess capacity. Stockholders don’t want to pay for beds that aren’t full and making money, so healthcare companies never built hospitals or beds for extraordinary circumstances. And if that infection curve rises too rapidly we will simply present too many patients at the hospital doors too quickly to handle. It’s a scary thought.

Add to that the fact that we have under supply of testing supplies we don’t really even know how many patients we have. It’s a bit of a frustrating situation for anyone trying to actually deal with the situation and I’m not sure that the executive branch of our country is really trying to do that. There have been too many hints at the fact that rich men and women really don’t give a rat’s patootie about how much the poor are suffering as long as they make a profit on their healthcare.

I know, that sounds terribly unfair.

But I’m not relying on the media for any of my opinion except for listening to live broadcasts by administration members themselves. Their phrasing, the topics they talk about, and those they ignore are all telling and don’t have to be interpreted. All you have to do is listen.

I’m keeping busy. I hope you are too. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop you know. Keeping your brain going is a good thing. 🙂

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One thought on “Challenging Times

  1. Liz W says:

    Thanks, as always, for your wise words, Peter. Because the threat from the virus seems so real to my husband and I and our family, it only adds to my anxious thoughts that so many are being so cavalier about it. Most of all I worry about our three children and their families, especially our single parent daughter and her son in TX. She is working from home, and trying to manage a very active five year old boy. We really encouraged her two weeks ago to get on a plane and fly up here so we could help with our grandson. She decided against it, and now that window has pretty much closed. Sometimes it is very difficult to see where this will all end.
    Stay well.

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