Cheap Seats 2020
Stayin Alive - 03/11
By Rich Trzupek
This is what comes of living in one of the healthiest, safest most prosperous nations in the healthiest, safest, most prosperous period of human history. We don’t worry about cholera or typhus, because we understand how sanitation works and can do a pretty damn good job of getting people healthy on the rare occasions when sanitation fails.
We don’t worry about getting eaten by grizzly bears, because we’ve figured out where the grizzly bears live and decided to respect their personal space. For the most part anyway. Every few years some nitwit decides to live with the grizzly bears, believing the grizzly bear will accept the idiot as a pal, when in fact the bear sees a late-night snack in waiting.
We’ve figured out that when we see a comet appear in the night sky it’s an explainable event that we can understand, not a sign that the gods are gearing up to wreak havoc. We know how to process our foods safely, get from here to there safely and we count on modern medicine to diagnose, prevent and fix a multitude of potential issues that would have killed us a century before. All in all we’ve got it pretty good.
Which is why it is so disappointing to see so many people losing their minds over the “threat” of the coronavirus. Talk about rich people’s problems!
I am no doctor, but I know doctors. They tell me that the coronavirus is less threatening than the flu. That is to say, that all things considered one is more likely to die of complications from the flu than from the coronavirus.
Some people have died of the coronavirus. The vast majority who caught it have not. Indeed, there are cases in which people didn’t know they had even caught the bug, assuming their symptoms were the common cold or the flu.
Like the flu, the coronavirus is deadly when the victim is more vulnerable due to age or because their defenses have been weakened by another illness. Relatively healthy people should have nothing to fear.
And yet, here we are, shivering in our homes, afraid to get on a airplane or shake a friend’s hand. It’s a sad state of affairs. It’s also a sign of the times.
Americans live in a society that is so frisk free that many of us cannot wrap our arms around that fact. Believing something must be putting us endanger, people are easy prey for fear-mongering journalists and politicians. Whether it’s ethylene oxide or the coronavirus, the threat du jour always turns out to be 99 percent hot air when ignorant media-types and opportunistic elected officials get their hands on it.
Should we practice good hygiene? Of course we should – always. But we shouldn’t change our lives because of a bug with a spooky name. Perhaps if they had called it the “lollipop virus” fewer people would be freaking out.
SARS passed. The bird flu passed. This too shall pass and we can all go back to living our day lives in the certain knowledge that our time on earth is limited and that we will continue to be assailed by the merchants of despair as long as we live.