I will start this by saying that, if I have unfounded fears, I will very publicly eat my words. I, like everyone else, pray that this all declines and life can resume. I want to, in four weeks, say, “I was wrong, and my fears were unfounded.”
But my observations of history, the current trends, and the words of experts make me thing that we have not found the end of this and a second wave will happen as we open back up.
I first must say that I do not have an argument against everything people have said about the downsides of closing. Yes, closing has exacerbated socio-economic problem. Yes, closing has exacerbated mental health issues. Yes, limiting elective surgeries – and declaring some necessary surgeries elective – has exacerbated and risked lives.
No one can – or will – argue the truth of these issues. They are real. We may wildly disagree on how to mitigate these realities, but we all know they are real and serious.
When someone says that we should not reopen too soon, they do not argue we should ignore these realities or sacrifice those suffering from these realities for the good of other people.
Our concern lies with the second wave because the second wave will also exacerbate these things, likely exacerbating them longer than if we had just stayed closed long enough. Opening too early will not have a lasting positive effect. It will temporarily relieve it, but the ensuing wave and closing will re-exacerbate everything, and for longer because the second wave is always worse than the first and will force a longer closing.
I must address something else. I have seen zero debate about this. I have seen virtue signaling, accusations of “vileness” and “hatred,” name calling, and blinding anger. And, as a confession, I have been as guilty as anyone.
Accusing each other of disregarding the needs of the least and the lowest without actually naming their ways and simply angrily repeating your concerns – or worse, parroting the talking points provided to you by people who care not at all about the least and the lowest but benefit greatly by those least and lowest returning to work – will not help and will only sow divisions in this time of isolation. And frankly, it does not move us to a better understanding of what we should do.
I will not say much publicly on the issue as I have been doing, but I will covenant with everyone that when I do, I will address what I see, why I disagree with it, and do so without accusations and name calling. I ask that you do the same.
We can get through this, we can find a path that addresses the pandemic and the societal problems exacerbated by it, and we can do so without hatred, but we must actively and intentionally do so – and maybe sacrifice our own desires and needs in the process.