THE BARD WRITES A MODERN SOLILOQUY
“To open or not to open, that is the question? Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows and risk COVOD-19, or to stay at home, to sleep and perchance to dream. Ay there is the rub. Should we herd on the beaches toe to elbow, should we hit the malls four abreast, should we take off our masks and crowd into congress and state houses, waving flags and claim our rights of birth? Or grunt and sweat under a weary life? Should we follow science or the constitution? There is the respect that makes calamity of so long a life. For who would bear the whips and scorn of ICU care? It is us who would dare?”
How about should we practice common sense? There is no easy answer; both hardcore choices offer death and destruction. Opening will create the same scenario as in 1918 of Philadelphia vs. St. Louis, double the death rate. Not opening will increase unemployment, increase the suicide rate, increase domestic violence, child abuse, depression, increase poverty, destroy the market, and produce its own set of evils.
The answer, of course, is to do both with forethought and caution. It all depends on the community. is it urban? Is it rural? What is the population density? What jobs can function well from home? What jobs require actual physical presence? What jobs are essential? What jobs are optional? How well can people learn to practice social distancing? Which masks work best? Are there medications that decrease the risk of infection like Pepcid, Vitamin D, Remdesivir, and who should be taking them? Certainly, the low-risk drugs should be liberally distributed, where the high-risk drugs (like Hydroxychloroquine) that can cause Torsade de Pointes (freely translated -death), also renal and liver toxicity could be doled out only to those that are healthy, but at high risk, who have normal Q-T intervals (normal EKG’s for non-doctors). Testing for both active virus and antibodies would also help in deciding whom to isolate and who is relatively safe to walk among us. Simple testing such as temperature screening should be practiced widely and regularly.
The message should be crystal clear and delivered not just from the governmental authorities but a consortium of elected officials, law enforcement, scientists, physicians, and spiritual leaders of the community. This will strengthen the message and allow stringent enforcement of the decisions that are uniformly adopted. Social distancing will be with us for a long time to come. Just look at the continuing increase in cases and the death rate. And, yes, uniform enforcement must be dealt out to all. Just like Typhoid Mary was put behind bars for not obeying the law, and because of that careless act killed people with typhoid fever. That will not work for us, the jails are already full, but some disincentives for civil disobedience will need to be meted out, a fine, for example, and civic service for repeat offenders. Nowhere in the Constitution does it give anyone the right to infect others at their whim. Just as people wielding weapons need to be constrained to protect society, so do people who would spread disease wantonly. No one is above the law!
What should we do? We should do what common sense dictates. Do the best for the most, as the power of the people dictates us to do!