I can sympathize with the desire to reopen the economy and return to “normalcy.” The emotional strain of being locked down, the uncertainty and anxiety over the future, the loneliness of millions who live alone in their homes, all those contribute to the longing to resume social and commercial life.
Regrettably, if we reopen too soon and without required preparations, we will suffer terribly. The virus will return with a vengeance, fatality rates will dwarf those of today, risk groups will cover all age groups, and the social distancing will be far more severe and prolonged.
The coronavirus has shown us how alienated we are from each other. Were we not so alienated, we would not feel so lonely, uncertain, and anxious. We would be so much more resilient that we would be able to withstand a lockdown even for the entire duration of the plague. The stress so many of us feel now is not because of the virus; it is because of the emotional remoteness that plagued us long before the virus came. COVID only uncovered it and placed it right before us. If we want to heal ourselves from the virus, we first have to heal ourselves from alienation. Instead of focusing on business, we should focus on strengthening our communities.
When people do not feel alone, it is much easier for them to deal with stress and discomfort. We can and should cater to the vulnerable in our communities, see that they get what they need, and that they do not feel alone. We must remember that keeping COVID away from them means keeping it away from us, as well. If we practice mutual responsibility, we just might have a chance at fighting the most rapid pandemic to ever spread across the globe.
[Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash]