Saturday, April 04, 2020

Strange Days Indeed

I wonder if John Lennon ever realized how prophetic his words would be:

Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Strange days indeed.
I never understood how a pandemic would destroy the world economy.  
Millions of people out of work. Millions with no paycheques, no income, and no prospect of getting any except for a few hundred dollars from the government. Millions who have no money, who cannot buy food, or medicines, or clothes, or pay their utilities bills or their rent. It is an economic disaster of a scale which the world has never seen before.
I used to live in a modern society. And I never wanted to live anywhere else.  But I just didn't understand how fragile that society really was.  
Now I find myself suddenly living in some kind of an alternate universe, one with no schools, no clothing stores, no book stores, no coffee shops. No health care, no dental care, no physiotherapy, no surgeries. No weddings, no funerals, no parties, no graduations, no concerts, no events. No bars, no restaurants. No sports. 
The idea I am seeing floating around now -- that this worldwide economic shutdown will just have to last for years, until we get a vaccine or a cure -- well, sorry, but that just ain't gonna happen. 
Not if all this pain is just for the sake of avoiding a virus which is, for most people, most of the time, a mild illness. 
And yes, of course I understand that our heedless and careless way of living wasn't sustainable because we don't know who will get COVID-19 next, and we don't know who will die, and if we are dying, its an awful death, and the problem is that caring for the people who are really sick is going to destroy our health care system unless some of us can postpone getting really sick until later.
But our situation right now isn't sustainable either. 
We need to figure out how we are going to get out of this.
I wrote a comment recently on Montreal Simon's excellent blog, to the effect that I am proud to be a Canadian during this crisis, because our leaders stepped up to the plate.  Someday I hope to understand better how Trudeau did it, how he put the right people into the right place to get us through this.
And now, they have to step up again, to lay out a plan of how we are going to get out of this.
And I think maybe it will start with a national testing program -- we have to know who has already had COVID-19 and who has not, so we can figure out who needs to continue to to isolate.
And then, gradually, our strange days might end.
UPDATE:  I'm starting to see stuff along the lines of: Social Distancing cannot fail, it can only BE failed!  In other words, we just have to keep doing it more and more and more, and Trudeau has to make it illegal for anybody to ever leave their house ever, and then, easy peasy, THEN it will TOTALLY WORK!

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