Cruel choices


The choice, apparently, is a binary one.

You can have economic devastation or death. You can have your livelihood or your life. There are no other options, so take your pick.

That’s the way it’s being framed by amateur epidemiologists on social media, who can always find some “study” on the internet to justify expanding restrictions and extending the lockdown until – well, that’s none of your business.

I used to laugh at those who likened our shutdown to martial law. But every time I’m sure that things can’t possibly get more restrictive, they get more restrictive. And our shutdown drags on without even a glimmer of light at the end of this long and very dark tunnel.

When other states talk about possibly trying to loosen things up just a little, they are not looked to with cautious hope. No, the shutdown-without-end crowd condemns such plans as murder-suicide pacts. How dare anyone even think about normalcy at a time like this?

Optimism, once viewed as the most positive of human character traits, is today seen as evidence of some sort of deranged death wish.

When exactly did we lose our collective confidence and become prisoners of our own fear? We believe it’s within our power to control the earth’s climate, but we don’t think we’re capable of fighting a virus and keeping society functioning at the same time?

Meanwhile, I keep waiting for the next CDC guideline:

  • Don’t breathe. It has been scientifically documented that the novel coronavirus is spread through respiratory activity. Ceasing all such activity will quickly flatten the curve.

Of course, it will also immediately flatten you. But sacrifices must be made in times like these.

Still, it’s not all gloom and doom. Not yet anyway. There are reasons to smile, if you know where to look for them.

For one thing, the opening of the community garden has been canceled. And the parking ban around the Lake has also closed off access to the new electric vehicle charging station at Veterans Field.

You take your silver linings where you can find them.

Another literal bright spot is the recent news that sunlight, heat and humidity quickly kill the virus! (Too bad they didn’t tell us about this before we canceled the Fourth of July.)

It was reported that experiments conducted by scientists at the US Department of Homeland Security showed that the coronavirus can be quickly destroyed by sunlight and cannot survive in high temperatures and humidity on surfaces or in an airborne droplet of saliva.

This news offers new hope that the summer could bring some respite from the virus and the restrictions it has spawned. But we need to find a way to apply this in the long term.

Therefore, I am calling for an immediate halt to all climate change mitigation measures worldwide.

If it saves just one life…

[This column originally appeared in the April 30, 2020 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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