I need to put in my Penny’s Worth about our current predicament. Remember, this is my opinion. Also, where I state facts, they are cross-referenced and are from reliable sources, especially when it comes to medical or statistical data.
I’ve seen a disturbing number of “let’s just return to work” posts (from some people I’d not expect, too) appearing recently.
From my own (selfish) point-of-view, I’d like nothing better than to return to normal (if that is even possible). Last year was (financially) my worst on record. In early February I suffered a bad fall, dislocated my right shoulder, snapped my subscapularis tendon and displaced my bicep tendon, which required major surgery, followed by weeks of immobilization and intense therapy. It was fully 4 months before I was able to wield a drumstick. It then took most of the rest of the year to regain anything resembling normality, work-wise. So I really, really needed this year to be a good one.
2020 began really well. In the first 2 months I earned more than the whole of 2019. Then came the lockdown. Every single gig I had on the books was instantly wiped out. My diary is now as white as the driven snow until 2021 (and even then there are only a handful of speculative gigs).
SO, I would really love to see a return to work. But I also realize this is not possible, in the current circumstances. I see a lot of talk about attaining “Herd Immunity” – that it won’t go away until 70% of the population has been exposed to COVID-19. I understand this concept only too well. I was one of those children deliberately exposed to chicken pox, just so I could gain immunity to it. But here is the problem with trying to apply the same concept to COVID-19 (and why our governments have not chosen that pathway).
Apart from being up to 20 times more infectious than any ‘flu strain previously encountered, the mortality rate is at least 10 times that of “regular” ‘flu (conservative estimate: some experts think higher). In addition, if we were to simply relax all restrictions now, and lay the entire population open to exposure, even if we had an infection rate of, say 25,000 daily, Herd Immunity (70%) would not be achieved until mid 2021, at a cost of half a million American lives (alone), not to mention an utterly overwhelmed medical infrastructure (and a catastrophic impact on the economy).
Then there is the sheer nastiness of this disease. More and more reports are confirming that possibly the worst symptom of this killer disease is spontaneous blood-clotting in the organs. These thromboses are now widely documented (as a result of a number of patients being autopsied). This unpredicted symptom takes this disease out of the “mere influenza’ category, and elevates it to something closer to Ebola. Again, it depends if you are willing to take the risk and deliberately contract COVID-19, and end up possibly dying in this fashion.
And would this be merely in the “Name of Commerce?”
I, for one, choose not to take that risk. I know some people are arguing that life itself is not worth continuing if one’s life’s work has been ruined. But I have to adopt the Italian attitude on this: it all depends if you “live to work, or work to live.”
I am fortunate that I love my job. That said, I am not prepared to risk my life (and that of my friends & family) just to return to work. I would rather suffer complete financial ruin than risk anyone else’s life. But then I’ve lost everything several times in my 47-year career…. And I’ve bounced back every time. OK, I’m not financially “safe” (like some other people) as a direct result, but I’m feel I am mentally & emotionally a better person. I’d like to think I’ve learned from each mistake in my past. My life is rich, even if I don’t drive a Tesla & own a million dollar mansion (the latter I could do without, the former I can daydream about, maybe!! ).
I am confident the world will bounce back. It won’t be the world we knew. But it might just be a better place, where people don’t take things for granted, and possibly think a little more about each others’ wellbeing (even just a tiny bit). After all, Human Kind has bounced back from Bubonic Plague, numerous wars, and even the Spanish ‘Flu! (50 million and up, for that alone, after WWI killed 16 million and, less than a generation later, WWII killed another 70 million).