With the focus so much on the virus and stopping the spread of it, I worry how I am going to see other people… Fuelled by fear and uncertainty it feels tempting to start blaming and shaming. It feels justified to start dividing people up…
Those who ‘co-operate’ and those who don’t.
Those who care and those who seemingly don’t.
I don’t think it’s that simple.
We are probably all aware by now that risk of dying statistically is higher for people who are above 50 and have underlying health issues. This means that for a large proportion it might be hard to take seriously. And understandably so – being asked to change most things about how we are used to living and interacting is overwhelming. And nobody seems to really know how this virus works or how it spreads. Current information feel quite vague and the hygiene and physical distancing advice seem near impossible to follow. We are constantly touching things that others have touched and breathing the same air even if we keep apart.
Flatten the curve is useful but almost all the graphs I have seen leave out something extremely important. Flattening the curve is not just about healthcare services being able to deal with the rise of cases of the virus. We are not going to stop having other illnesses and emergencies which services need to be able to deal with as well… Which is about all of us.
I am okay with dying myself. I am not too keen on getting seriously ill (having asthma this is a possible scenario) and lying alone in hospital with those horrible ventilators and what not. And most of all I don’t want to take up space and time if me getting ill could have been avoided. Also I am not at all keen on anyone I care about going through this… Or needing other kinds of urgent help from health services and not being able to get it…
Just because all we hear about is the virus doesn’t mean that every thing else has stopped happening. People are still getting abused and beaten up. People still get cancer. People still fall. People still get injured. People still have problematic pregnancies and births. People still get brain tumors. People still struggle with severe chronic illnesses. People still get post operation complications. People still have seizures, strokes, blood clots, sepsis, allergic reactions, infections and everything else you can think of that happens every minute of the day… And they still need help and care.
We need to slow down the spread – not just to avoid avoidable deaths from the virus but also to avoid other avoidable deaths – whatever age or however healthy or fit, none of us are invulnerable and none of us can say that we are safe from unexpected accidents or illnesses.
In many ways this virus shows us is how interconnected and interdependent we are in our societies. But even so I hope I will be able to accept the choices other people may make about taking precautions – or not.
The level of uncertainty makes me want to control everything and I have to take time out to sit with the uncomfortable reality that there is very little in all of this I can control.
Brilliant blogger Sarah K Reece has written this very useful piece https://sarahkreece.com/2020/03/21/why-do-they-do-that-understanding-peoples-reactions-to-crisis/