Preventing the Preventable is a Question of National Narcissism
There is one message that is sadly not being shared about COVID19 — it is 100% controllable with changes in our personal behavior. A virus is just a tiny collection of infectious chemistry that only spreads when we permit it to spread. This is why testing, tracing, staying home, washing hands, controlling your respiratory aerosols, and keeping distance are critical. We each, control its spread together.
Australia did an excellent job at this and yesterday logged zero new cases. Life there is normal; their businesses can thrive. Hospitals can go back to treating the involuntarily ill and health care workers can know they are not risking their lives by treating someone that perhaps elected to become infected via their own negligence. How can we reach zero in the States when we are turning the corner into increasingly unprecedented infections?
Easy. If everyone were to assume they were infected and took their most extreme efforts to protect others, the numbers would plummet within weeks. Unfortunately the message that this is in our hands to control means our politicians and science deniers can’t blame someone else.
This is literally on us, individually. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and any chain completely fails when it is actively being massacred by political bolt cutters by 30-some percent of the population.
The pandemic’s grip ends with leadership, cohesive federal response, aggressive programs to test and trace, guidance from medical experts, and most of all, an attitude change across the population.
The problem is not a virus. The problem is an infection of national narcissism that puts individual belief, selfishness, and even disinformation ahead of the basic science of viral transmission. We control how long this pandemic will affect the nation. It can be beat without new vaccines and therapeutics, packed hospitals and lockdown orders. Other countries have done it. We have to all commit to being our brothers’ keepers, and realize that if we want to be part of a healthy, happy, and prosperous nation, our most patriotic duty is to prevent the preventable.