Just One Life
“If everything we do saves just one life, then I’ll be happy,” Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, commenting on his continuing his lockdown orders.
“You are safer at home,” Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan.
Is this the new standards that will guide our decisions, that will dictate our lives? There are many things we can do, many things we can prevent, if the only goal is to save lives. If we ban cars, we can save tens of thousands of lives each year. If we ban alcohol, we can save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Even when this virus goes away, if we continue with shelter in place, we can save thousands of lives each year from dying from the flu.
There is a constant weighing of risk vs reward in every human decision because the choices of life have consequences. Some decisions are obvious because the reward is great and the risk is minimal, or the risk is great and the reward is not worth it. Those decisions appear to us as non-decisions, or no-brainers. Because the right choice is so obvious, it is no longer even a choice.
The decisions we are facing now are the furthest things from no-brainers. They fall into the category of damned if we do, damned if we don’t. That is why there is so much debate surrounding them, and that is why it is so wrong to criticize someone who holds a stance different than yours. These are tough decisions. Should we open the economy? Should we keep it closed? How much should we open it? How closed should we close it? These are unchartered waters. I see the pros and cons for every decision. If we keep the country closed, we are saving lives but destroying livelihoods. If we open the country, we are saving the economy, saving jobs, saving businesses, but exposing people to death. You pick your poison. No one knows what the consequences of any of these decisions will be. Every computer model has been wrong. We are making educated guesses at best. And yet we have the arrogance to believe that our guesses are better than your guesses.
In the end, we must act like mature adults navigating through life. We all know that the corona-virus is out there. You must be living under a rock if you don’t. We all know the steps we must take reduce our chances of becoming infected when we are in public; proper hygiene, social distancing, use of masks and gloves. Doing all that, there still is a chance you will become infected, and if infected, there is a small chance you will die from the disease. With or without the existence of the corona-virus, you are risking your life every time you step out of your door. You could be hit by a bus, struck by lightning, die in a car accident. We take that chance everyday. But we look both ways before we cross the street. We drive at speeds we can handle. We know the risks of life. We accept those risks. We have learned how to navigate those risks. No one knows when their time will come. We cannot ignore the risks of life, nor can we allow the risks to paralyze us. It’s just as insane to spend the next year hiding in our basements waiting for a vaccine to be created before we see the light of day again, as it is to go back to our pre-covid life and lifestyles.
The choice is yours. If you are deathly afraid of this virus, or you are one of the at risk individuals, then you have the freedom to chose to stay sheltered in place in your own home. But if you are willing to take the chance, and are part of the non-at risk population, and are fully willing to accept the consequences if you become infected, then you have the freedom to re-engage in your life at a level you’re comfortable with.
These are tough decisions. But these are the decisions that make life life. Death comes to us all sooner or later, but when we hide from death, we are really hiding from life.