As the news networks tell it, the coronavirus zombie apocalypse is continuing. The red spread of death across the world maps continues to encroach upon us. The end is near.
The end is near, actually. As we apply common sense, stay away from other people and wash our hands, the numbers will drop and life as we knew it will continue.
Our society is jaded. The lackluster solution of washing our hands doesn’t excite us. If this virus had six heads and was standing in our backyards, we could battle it with flamethrowers. That would be exciting and then the credits would roll across the screen and we’d be heroes. The real heroes of hand washing and social distancing don’t generate a lot of enthusiasm.
Now, due to public pressure, the government is buying and distributing millions of corona virus test kits. They’ll be here soon. My doctor friend cautioned me to view testing in the proper perspective. Testing is a wise thing, from the perspective of those scientists who need information about it. It’s of no value whatsoever to me. My Type II diabetes doesn’t improve because I stuck my finger with a needle. Testing for the flu helps my doctor determine how to help me, but I don’t feel any better for it. I’m not going to lose weight by standing on my bathroom scale, but I can do it thirty times a day if I feel like it. Next winter, how many times are you going to take a “free” flu test? Probably as many times as your doctor advises it.
The other day, a good friend described the reality of free corona testing. Alexandra is a good example. She’s 27 years old and scared to death that the corona zombie is going to get her. She drives through the WalMart parking lot free testing. Her result is negative. But later that week, somebody sneezes in the tattoo parlor and back she goes again. The result is negative. Later that week, unexplainably, somebody’s lips come into contact with her lips, ears and, well, I wasn’t born yesterday. She feels uncomfortable about it. Test number three. It’s negative also. How many test kits, how many healthcare professionals (who otherwise might be helping someone who really needs it), how much time, money and resources are involved in Alexandra’s apocalypse, while she steals our toilet paper from the supermarket shelves? Free testing, in the end, may well slow the process of fighting the problem. We’d be wiser to let people think they’ve got it. They’d probably stay home, wash their hands and stop stealing my oxygen and toilet paper.
There are untold millions of Alexandras out there. The abuse of free corona virus testing will embarrass us one day soon. Why don’t we have free drive-through testing for the flu? Where are our flamethrowers when we have a known serial killer in our own backyard? I’m in the high risk category because I’m over 60 and have existing health issues. I’ll take a test when my doctor thinks I ought to. And I’ll do it just once. I expect to stay calm throughout the entire procedure.
When I’m sick with the flu or other winter malady, I always think it’ll get better. Then Saint Mary convinces me I need to go to Urgent Care. I lay around for days and hate being sick. Sooner or later, I start feeling better. I go out into the world and in a very short time, I am invincible again. This happens nearly every winter, because I always get healthy enough to be invincible until I catch it again. While you laugh at me, please realize that I’ve just described what corona virus is likely to do to us if we contract it.
The scientists need the tests. They’ll get the information eventually, through healthcare providers, and it will teach us all about how to deal with corona virus. But with free corona testing, we will tie up an enormous amount of time and resources, including health care professionals who could be helping sick people.
I’m learning things from this zombie apocalypse, though. I see the photos of the empty store shelves. It teaches me how folks will treat me when the zombies are really there.