Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Living in Strange Times

We live in a utopia. But we can’t always see it.

Airplanes and cars speed us to wherever we desire to go. Childhood vaccinations protect us from a variety of illnesses ranging from chicken pox to polio. Even the relatively poor in our country have clean water, electricity, refrigerators and coffee makers.

So now everything seems wrong because COVID-19 appeared, and over turned our neat little apple cart. A lot of people, 80,000 so far, have died and many more have become ill. Untold numbers of people have beaten the disease only to face a long recovery. And honestly, more people will become sick and some will die, especially in the next year.

For a while, everyone locked down, shut down and hid away, but honestly that is no way to live. Historically, COVID-19 is not much of a challenge when compared to what past generations have faced.

It wasn’t that long ago that mumps and measles were considered a normal part of childhood. Both diseases can leave a person with hearing loss, and measles can result in brain damage. But before vaccinations, they were just a part of life. There was a time when people regularly died of diseases we rarely think about today: cholera, typhoid, diphtheria, whooping cough, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, and small pox. We still tell horror stories about rheumatic fever and lock jaw in my family. Maybe 100 years from now, families will be telling COVID-19 stories.

When you cross a street, ride a bike, plug in an appliance, chew a piece of food, use a knife, or ride a roller coaster, you know there is an inherent risk. You know a certain percentage of people are killed crossing the street or choking to death each year. You evaluate the risks, take the necessary precautions and live your life.

The problem with COVID-19 is we have so little reliable data on which to base our level of risk. For example, 1 out of every 124,000 roller coaster rides results in injury with an average of 4 deaths per year (BMJ Journals.) Now if you really want to ride that coaster and 1 in 124,000 is an acceptable gamble, chances are you will hop on and have a great time. However, for that 1 person, things will inevitably end in tears.

With that in mind, Los Alamos’ lowest prediction is 87,000 deaths and MIT’s highest prediction is 114,000 deaths by May 30 (FiveThirtyEight.) Considering we already have 80,000 deaths, that is an additional 7,000 to 34,000 deaths in the next few weeks. The population of the U.S. is roughly 327.17 million. So your chances of dying of COVID in the next few weeks ranges from.000021 percent to .000104 percent, or 1 in 46,739 to 1 in 9623.

Now you must evaluate the risks, and I would implore you to take the necessary precautions and live your life. Because our economic shutdown is crushing the life out of businesses. Small businesses, which are at the heart of our communities are failing at a terrifying rate, but big businesses are failing as well. The mental health of our whole community, especially our children, is at risk. Humans are not designed to be alone. This extended period of excommunication is demanding a higher toll each day.

We need each other. We need to be productive and to be proud of our work. We need to stop being afraid of living.

Years ago I got my foot caught in some covers and fell hard getting out of bed. I was hurt badly enough that I needed x-rays to determine if I had broken any broken bones. My friends, however, were merciless. So I looked up a statistic. At the time, more than 7,000 people per year went to emergency rooms for accidents related to getting out of bed. This statistic did not include people who went to emergency care centers, private physicians, or who self-treated. The moral of the story is: if you don’t want to get hurt, don’t get out of bed.

For the opposite opinion, I recommend Carlos Greaves’ humorous article printed by ‘McSweeney’s,’ “Sure, the Velociraptors are Still on the Loose, but that’s No Reason Not to Reopen Jurassic Park,” available here.