Stop. Getting. Tested. Stay the F Home.
Can someone help me to understand, maybe a behavioral economist or a psychologist or a philosopher, why so many people in our country continue to do the things that they KNOW are hurting others (and themselves!) despite the clear consequences of devastating sickness, death, and most close to home for all of us, these renewed and tightening restrictions on our freedom and what we can do in our daily lives? Does anyone else see that by not being vigilant, by not making smart choices about where we go and what we do and who (and how many) we spend time with, we are just making it worse for ourselves and each other? I am truly baffled, confused, and feel like crying pretty much every day now when I look at the numbers increasing in our states and countries when it is so obvious that if we all just did our part it wouldn’t have to be this bad? Everyone is suffering. We are doing this to ourselves. Even if you don’t care about getting others sick or killing off hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Americans or burning out our hardworking health care providers, don’t you care about not being able to send your kids to school? Or your grandkids? Or is it truly the people in their 20s and 30s who don’t have kids yet who are completely oblivious who are the most culpable right now? I have a few friends without children who have been acting responsible, so I’m not blaming that demographic. But I don’t have that many friends without kids. Don’t you care about not being able to see your family at the holidays? Not being able to go on vacation? Don’t you miss eating out at your favorite restaurant or going to the movies or concerts or museums? Don’t you miss playing or watching team sports? WHO are these people that continue to go out and completely defy the science and ignore the guidance that, if followed, and if respected, would help all of us go back to being able to live our lives again? I feel like there is this mass of humanity out there that doesn’t. care. at. all. about anyone else except themselves.
In playing Devil’s advocate, yes, I see that most of us are not witnessing the horrid morbidity and mortality, except in numbers we hear on the news, from this disease. Personally, and thank God, I do not know one person who has died from it. So yes, it may seem abstract and impossible to understand the severity. And yes, I understand we are social beings and it completely sucks not being able to see each other smile (except on zoom) or hug our friends or go shopping in crowded stores at the holidays or have our big family over for dinner. It sucks for all of us! But: I do see the other repercussions. Everything is closing. Not being able to see my own parents and my son’s cousins for almost a year now. Children in our community are falling WAY behind in school and also suffering the mental and physical illness that accompanies isolation from their peers and from being sedentary and not engaged in sports or dance or other physical activity. Children are suffering more child abuse and neglect. There are more suicide hotline calls than ever before.
Finally, if you are one of these people who is acting like nothing is wrong and you can just go out without a mask, participate in large gatherings indoors, spending time with others when you are not feeling well, the least your community can ask of you (but I know this is asking too much because you may not be able to go to that (covert secret) Christmas party you wanted to attend, or go out to that bar or crowded shopping mall you so desperately need to go to or your life will be incomplete, or host that (secret, covert) holiday gathering you wanted to host), if you feel a little bit sick, don’t even get tested. Just stay home. Please. Stop getting tested. Just stay home so you can keep our positive test results down so our kids can go back to school. Just. Stay. Home. Until you feel better. It’s not that much to ask. Yes, if you feel very sick and think you need medical care, then call your doctor or go in.
If anyone could help me understand why the majority of my fellow Americans (and I don’t even know them! my adult friends all wear their masks religiously, aren’t going anywhere for the holidays, are hunkering down at home and avoiding crowded spaces and indoors as much as possible) don’t care, at all, about getting others sick, about keeping children out of school, about keeping everything closed for everyone, maybe I’d have a little more peace and not feel so angry. If there was an explanation for their behavior other than pure ignorance and selfishness. Is it a lack of effective leadership? Is it actually impossible for these individuals to avoid crowded indoor spaces and to wear masks? Are they mostly homeless, poor, working in unsafe conditions and have no choice because they need to support their families? Are all the people responsible for spreading the virus living in very crowded apartments and houses because they can’t afford more space/family? Is it people purposely exposing themselves then getting tested and “Yay! Its positive! Woo Hoo I get 2 weeks of paid sick leave from work! (read: I’m free for two weeks so now I’m going to go out and party and see my friends and family and get everyone else sick!). Or is it really just people who have the ability to do the right thing just being lazy and blatantly ignoring the recommendations and now rules (because we couldn’t behave in the first place)?