that your immune system is like much else in the human body.
If you don’t use it you lose it.
Plus multiple reports across FB and Twitter from people returning to work and promptly getting sick.
This isn’t new. Exposure to a new environment results in exposure to new bugs. This is a good thing that keeps your immune system nimble and working, and mild exposure in the normal course of things is easier for your immune system to cope with than when you suddenly dump everything on it at once. Studies have known for a while that kids who’re allowed to be exposed to a wider variety of bacteria and the like tend to have sturdier immune systems than those who’re kept away from everything.
Except that we, as a country and a world, just spent the last year hiding away from the rest of humanity, dousing ourselves and our worlds with sanitizers and bleach, and generally trying to avoid anything that might make us sniffle.
We did this to our children, are STILL doing this to our children in many states, at a point in their development where they need that exposure the most to help their immune systems develop properly. And at a point in their lives where they need exposure to faces and learning emotions the most, we instead forced them and the adults around them to wear masks. Forced them to avoid many of the adult encounters that normally enrich their lives. Forced them to avoid Grandma, and Auntie, who normally are huge parts of their lives and how they learn to talk and interact. Forced them to avoid their friends. At a time when they most need those interactions to learn how to do and act and emote correctly. Never mind all the special needs kids who lost out on all sorts of assistances and services that they need just to LIVE rather than SURVIVE. Never mind the toll on Grandma, and Auntie, when they lost all in person contact with family, something that no zoom call can make up for.
And on top of that, and on top of the “discovery” that healthy, fit people who exercised regularly were far less likely to suffer from severe covid (at a time when many states and cities were forcing people to avoid going out to parks and beaches and even casual walking). It turns out that previous exposure to similar viruses (like, you know, the common cold), actually made it more likely you’d end up with mild to no covid symptoms. But nope, god forbid you get the sniffles.
Of course, there’s folks who are now so freaked out by the idea of getting sick, with ANYTHING, that they want the world to keep masking and huddling away from the rest of humanity.
Never mind that doing so is almost the ultimate expression of bias against the blue collar middle and lower class workers of all races and backgrounds.
The plain and simple fact is that the economy doesn’t run itself.
You need food to survive. Someone has to run the grocery store. Someone has to drive the trucks to get it to the store. Run the processor to processes the food from raw to ready to buy form. Run the farm to grow the food. None of these people have a choice in going out to work because THEY want to food to survive. And to top it off, if you’re going to huddle at home, terrified to go to the grocery store, an additional someone has to go to the store for you, pick out your groceries and deliver them to you.
Someone has to keep the water plants running. The gas stations. The mail (never mind the mess if the water stopped running, can you picture the uproar if the USPS stopped delivering mail because they were scared of the virus?). The doctors offices need not only doctors, but nurses, janitors, receptionists.
Your fridge stopped working? Guess what, the guy who comes out to repair it is suddenly pretty essential huh? What if he can’t fix it and you have to buy a new one, gosh, all those people involved in the manufacture of new appliances, the delivery of the various parts and of the finished appliance, the guys who bring it into your house and install it for you. All pretty essential after all.
Even if the .GOV could afford to pay everyone to stay home and hibernate away from those evil viruses (which, as I just discussed, turns out to be not actually a good idea), it’s just not actually possible for everyone to do so and keep society running. Infact there’s a fairly large percentage of workers who NEED to go to work if society is going to keep running. Anyone who tells you otherwise does not actually understand how things actually work.
The mental, emotional, and physical health toll from this shut down is going to reverberate in the world for a long time. Possibly for generations, as the kids whose ability to learn how to interact with people was stunted by this then go on to raise equally stunted children of their own.
We screwed over our immune systems at a time when we needed them working at their best.
We just set back all sorts of medical treatments for major things, like oh, tuberculosis (they’re predicting an ADDITIONAL MILLION PLUS cases just because of the 3 month lockdown). Or African Malaria.
We forced people to do without “non-essential” medical tests and treatments without regard to what those treatments were actually for, and terrified many many more people into avoiding doctors offices and hospitals until it was to late for them, and even if they could and did try to see a doctor wait times to see your regular doctor went through the roof thanks to covid.
Think I’m exaggerating based on a few news reports?
A couple months ago I ended up sitting in the local ER, listening to a guy a few seats over gripe about how his doctor was only doing video appts for 90% of his appts and how this guy has neither computer nor smartphone and therefor hadn’t been able to get in to see his doctor for damn near a year and how now his blood pressure was through the roof. I happened to be sitting in the back waiting on bloodwork when they did his triage, and the nurse came running out of the door to the triage room to get a dose of meds because she had a guy who’s BP was 294/something I forget. Sure I don’t know his situation personally, so maybe he was lying. But from the discussion the nurses and techs had, he wasn’t their first such case of the day.
Oh, and that ER? So backed up that the ambulances bringing in car accident patients were having to drop them in the waiting room unless they were in cardiac arrest right now.
When I called MY doctors office the next morning, to arrange an appt for the ER followup, the next available in person appt was over a month out. (I’m fine, and if they hadn’t closed half the urgent cares in town, cause COVID!!!! I’d have just gone to one of those instead of the ER. Did I mention how covid fucked over everyone’s ability to get health care?)
To top it off we fucked over the supply chain but good. Don’t let those full shelves at the stores deceive you. The stores are all having trouble getting in products. Home Depot has been paying extra to have products air-freighted into the country, and even just contracted their own container ship, in an attempt to get around some of the problems. But that only gets around the final item shipping problems. Just about every manufacturer out there is having problems getting the components and raw materials they need. Shipping, trucking, mining, manufacturing, building, assembly, around the world is fucked. Another lockdown for just about any reason is only going to break things further.
Did you know that the forced remote learning has resulted in many many school systems “losing” 10,000’s of kids? Kids who just aren’t logging into classes, either because they can’t (due to lack of computer, or internet, or the like) or because they just disappeared off the map. Kids who are logging into classes are still falling behind. Multiple states are reporting significant increases in mental health problems in teens and younger. Significant increases in hospitalizations for attempts at self harm, discussions of self harm, and other similar behaviors. (oh, but don’t worry, FB’s fact checkers will point out that the actual suicide rates are down! You know why? They only count successful suicides, and about the only good point of the shut downs is that with people home more suicide attempts were stopped.)
Schools that did have in person lessons this past school year frequently reported noticeable lacking and falling behind of children’s social behaviors. Like, potty training, vocabulary, ability to feed themselves.
I’m not saying that some extra cleaning of public places isn’t a good thing, the general public is a dirty nasty mass and some extra cleaning is by far worth it.
I’m not saying that the sudden proliferation of delivery services, and curbside services isn’t a good thing. The way it opens up both additional jobs, AND additional services and options to those who are sick, or frail, or otherwise home-bound is a good thing.
And the widening of work from home options opens up so many doors for so many people. That is also a good thing.
And I’d LOVE if people came out of this with a better recognition that maybe going into work sick (because I’m not THAT sick) isn’t a good thing.
But the insane panic, that I might get SICK!!!!! that has come out of this has got to stop. We have done SO MUCH harm.
Additional links for consideration:
I could go on, and on. But I think this makes my case well enough.
Edited to add one more link, cause I can’t resist.