I’m tired of hearing about coronavirus. I’ll bet you are too. Enough of the Trumpeting daily briefings. Enough. (I’m holding my hand up, palm out.)
Do you think maybe that by constantly being exposed to the media’s ranting and raving, we are altering our own reality? Reality is not MSNBC. It’s not Fox News, either. The New York Times is not delivering reality to our doorstep, and politicians in front of a camera are not telling us about our world. They are delivering their version of it. Perhaps we could all benefit from less news and a grain of salt.
I don’t know for sure, but it’s possible that “real” starts when when we talk and listen to others, then use our own logic and common sense. Maybe that’s when it gets real. Maybe the real real is what we desperately need right now.
I just did a quick scan of two polar-opposite media networks. Fox News has 22 coronavirus stories displayed. MSNBC has 70. The difference may interest you, since they both have political agendas, but one fact underpins both of them: neither are in the news business. Both are in the advertising business. They very badly need us to stay with them and not “switch channels.” They know we are watching and they will use that information to persuade Coca-Cola or Proctor and Gamble to put millions of dollars into their pockets. Oh, and they know which stories and advertisements we selected. Consider that.
I’m far more interested in what real people think. Not one word of any CommonSense I’ve ever written originated with me. They came from interacting with other people. But it sure seems like too many folks are functioning today only on what the media has fed them.
I was the problem child in my family. Throughout my early years and a great deal of my adolescence, my parents would counsel me in my abject foolishness. My mother spoke about love. To her obstinate son, she would say things like “I will always love you, but if you behave like this, other people won’t.”
My father was a different story. Oh, he loved me dearly, but it didn’t exactly come out that way. Completely frustrated by my foolishness, he would shout, rant and bluster, finally throwing his hands out in exasperation. “You’re not not using your brain!”
They both made some very good points. Somehow, during the next fifty years, I have softened my approach and started using whatever gray matter God put between my ears. So I listen to a little of the news every day and then I turn it off. And think about it. And listen to people who have proven to me that they also discovered their brain at some point in their lives. The reality soaks in.
I’m not just blabbering. I have a point. Stick with me.
I have a good friend who also happens to be a doctor. I’ve told you about him before. I’ve known him most of my life. He’s very logical. If I was a hell raiser in my early years, he was calm and rational. Logical to the extreme. I think it’s possible that he decided to be born only because he thought it over in the womb and decided it was a well reasoned idea.
We were sitting in the sun the other day, six feet apart, getting our dose of ultraviolet light, discussing the “Opening of America.” His thoughts seemed to more clearly express what my nagging common sense has been picking at. What follows is a collection of his thoughts and mine. I think it’s a valid, common sense approach.
Our first goal in this pandemic was to “Flatten The Curve.” That was because we didn’t want to overwhelm our medical systems. It worked. It more than worked.
As we learned more by testing larger numbers of people (including those who had no symptoms) we found that the virus can be devastating for a small segment of people, yet mild or undetected for most. We didn’t know it earlier and now we do. We can now take it to the bank.
Yet while the “number of cases” may be helpful for epidemiologists, it’s of very little value for us normal people. My doctor friend says that watching for significant hospitalizations would be a more useful tool. That will tell us if we’re moving too fast.
We started with Flatten The Curve, but the narrative has changed. Flatten The Curve has become Eradicate The Disease. That is an impossible goal. My friend said nothing we are doing now will bring that about. Nor should it, necessarily.
Here’s the good part. The coldly logical, common sense part. As more and more people contract Covid-19, with or without symptoms, herd immunity rears its head as the victor. Herd immunity is not in me. It’s in the people around me. As their numbers increase, my chance of catching it decreases.
It’s very logical, then, to grasp the real reality. Continued isolation will only delay the development of herd immunity. Isolation was right in the beginning. Rather than saying it’s wrong today, let’s call it counterproductive.
I’m an older person. I still need to be very careful. I’m not offering medical advice to anyone. But I am saying that with common sense and an eye to caution, it’s time to bring back the new/old normal because I’m tired of hearing about this.