It has been several months since the announcement of the spread of the deadly virus Covid-19 became news. As it creeped over the borders and began making its presence know in the European continents it seemed the measures being taken in some countries had become Draconian and extremely exaggerated. I admit I thought the Italians dramatic; I thought this distancing us from people a cruel way of dealing with this issue.
Now the virus has made it to the shore of the United States of America. Living in the metropolitan area of New York City, I have become particularly effected. As an asthmatic and a person with borderline high blood pressure I am considered a high-risk candidate if I would contract the virus. I was asked to stay home until such time the risk is minimized. However, my understanding is that it will not be minimized and the measures we are putting ourselves through is only to slow the virus down so that hospitals can cope with what will be a tidal wave of illnesses. As of this moment, as the media and government paint of picture of death and gloom the numbers of death and illnesses globally, statistically speaking are not as severe.
I am now on my fourth day of quarantine from the office. The first two days were interesting getting situated. The third, I was totally overwhelmed as the markets continued their insane downward spiral and the fourth day, I am feeling isolated and trapped. But I am blessed at least for the time being.
I am blessed because our business is fairing well. I am blessed because I will still have a job coming out of the other side of this and because I will likely survive the virus.
I though, am very concerned about the collateral damage which I believe will be much greater than the actual virus. The global economy is being crushed. People are losing their small savings overnight and worse those with no savings are losing their jobs.
If I feel trapped and angry while having security, I cannot imagine the anxiety of those who are losing jobs and money. How will they feed their families if they cannot work? We have shut down restaurants, bars, movie theaters, concert halls and gyms. These are all industries that employ lower earning part of our economy. This quarantine cannot be sustained for a long period. Because we will be passing one form of suffering up for another which may in the end analysis be worse.
The world has become so averse to suffering that we go to any extreme for individualism. The concern for death of individuals over the concern of death of our society. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say that we should do nothing. I mean to say that this has got to be done with a balance. There must be controls in place to protect the system we have all worked so hard to build.
For instance, allowing the stock market to free fall since these state actions have come about is a serious misstep. Just as the government has shut down many businesses, the stock exchanges should have also been shut down. In the current scenario being played out by state governments, only the wealthy will come out the other end unscathed while the public working in the entertainment and service industries sectors will suffer greatly. This is not at all equitable.
It has not been a week and I want to go back to the office. I want to walk the streets and I want to buy a lamb gyro from the street vendor. Now I know what it would be like to live under a totalitarian socialist government. Maybe a taste of this medicine, though harsh and perhaps necessary will also serve to remind people of the importance of liberty.