Okay people, this is getting real.
In the past we have had viruses. They have made people sick, people have died, but we’ve never taken the stance of total public fear and shutdown before. Why is this one so different? I don’t get what it is about this virus that has governments from all over the world destroying their economies by forcing businesses to close (perfectly healthy ones) and forcing people into situations where they are likely to cause a tremendous amount of problems. Telling people they cannot go outside, cannot socialize, HAVE to be stuck at home with their families for perhaps months is something from a bad George Orwell book. It is surreal. We trashed our economy based on models of what the virus might do. We are bankrupting our treasury and forcing a recession on the chance that it might get bad. I get that we don’t want to be reactionary all the time, but funding a stimulus bill before we know the damage seems suspicious.
If this were just the US I would cry conspiracy. However, this is global and it is far worse in other countries. People are getting shot for going outside in the Philippines. People cannot even walk their dogs in other “free” countries. Peru, if you cannot walk to the grocery store you cannot get food because no one is allowed to drive. Why is the world ending before we really understand the virus? Is it from movies like I am Legend? Do we really think half or more of the population will die from this? Actual results are not showing that. Yes, people are dying and at a higher rate than the common flu, but not above 1%. We are destroying our future for ourselves and our children for less than 1% death rate.
I don’t mean to be insensitive. For those that get really sick and live they are thinking, “how could this have been avoided?” However, if you told the answer is bankrupting our government, causing a 10% unemployment rate and causing banks to fail I wonder if they would be willing to trade two weeks of hell in the hospital to prevent the fallout our world is going to see.
What about the boy who cried wolf? We are freaking out and destroying our financial systems over something that is moderately bad. When and if something truly devastating like 12 Monkeys were unleashed we would not be able to respond with the same intensity because we are already in a state of utter depression (mentally and financially). Even if we manage to recover we will be really reluctant to shut it all down again for fear the next virus isn’t really that bad. We are going to have PTSD from this exercise and it will prevent us from reacting to something that will really kill us all.
Social experimentation is real. We are all a part of it. The researchers are going to have loads of data about how people respond under stress on a large scale now. It will be interesting to see how people really react and if this drags out over months what the effects on mental health, crime, suicide etc. really are. Are we going to see the worst of human nature come out, or will we evolve into a more compassionate and community oriented society? Times like these spark evolution one way or another. Either we end up like 1984 with the government taking complete control or we end up like Star Trek with benevolence reigning. It will be interested to see which one prevails.