There was a funny story I heard once. A man was traveling with a friend in China, and he got up from his cherished seat on a long, long train ride (more than a few hours) for an elderly gentlemen to sit down. His Chinese friend was furious. “Why did you get up? You had a seat!” And the man replied, confused, “I thought in China you were supposed to respect your elders”. His friend said, “Yeah, your elders, not just some miscellaneous old person.”
That’s the difference with this virus. It’s everyone’s elders. It’s why we care enough to stop the whole world’s economy for months in order to the save lives of people we normally don’t see, and don’t pay attention to: the elderly, the weak, the sick.
And I hate to say it, but maybe that’s why it’s hitting the US so hard, because they haven’t set up a system to care about the elderly, the weak and the sick. And there’s that obesity thing, which doesn’t seem to be a risk factor on its own but adds the chance of other mitigating factors (heart disease, hypertension etc.).
I don’t know if we’re going the right thing with closing businesses, but how can we not? Where I live, no one was going to respect social distancing, so that was the only option; force people to stop seeing each other. The thing is, there’s no reason for this virus to disappear anytime soon. There is no reason yet to believe that we’ll be immune if we’ve already had it.
What seems reasonable to think is that it will behave like many other flu viruses; we’ll get it, and get it again, but the second (third and fourth times) we’ll have some resistance to it. “Flattening the curve” was never about not getting sick, just not everyone all getting sick at the same time.
It’s a successful virus, but a really successful one doesn’t kill its host. That’s why Ebola is less “successful” from a virus point of view; it kills too quickly. Maybe this virus will mutate, but in the virus’s interest, it would be better to let us live (I’m just looking out for the virus, know what I mean?)
On my end, I’m trying to stay motivated for students who don’t reply to my emails, and colleagues who don’t reply, either. My partner’s job has continued normally, so I’ve been getting up at reasonable times and keeping a schedule, but it’s getting harder.
So I’ve been thinking about the Chinese Man…..
And Foro is there to greet me in the morning.