What I have realized is that we will not return to normal for very long. Others will come out. My son (26) and daughter (22) will surely risk the threat of infection and try to return to normal. But for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, our isolation must be continuous. We will be the last to resume our activities and continue our life.
And while we wait, we can hear the echoes of those who care little about our vulnerability. An example: While the virus has crossed the United States, a city official in Antioch, California, said that Covid-19 should be allowed to run its course, even if elderly and homeless people die. Ken Turnage, chairman of the city’s planning commission, posted on Facebook that the country must adopt a “herd mentality” that “allows the sick, the elderly, the injured to follow its natural course in the wild.”
Turnage, who subsequently removed the post, refused to resign or withdraw his comments and was removed from office. But the remarks rocked me.
Not everyone speaks as harshly as Turnage. Yet I am also dismayed by those who have suggested that the physically weak should be willing to sacrifice themselves for the future of the economy. Even Dr. Mehmet Oz seemed to be inclined to this view when, in April, he told Fox News that school reopenings were a “tempting opportunity” because they “could only cost us 2-3% in terms of total mortality ”. He quoted from a Lancet editorial that studies had shown that school closures alone would reduce Covid-19 deaths in the UK by only 2-4%, according to the New York Times. Oz has since said that he had “spoken badly,” but it does not reassure me, a vulnerable older population – disproportionately dying of the disease – who would be sacrificed because of impatience felt by some. to “open up”.
The sentence is frightening. And there is another horrible phrase influenced by a breeder who also scares me and my cohorts of baby boomers. This is “collective immunity”.
Collective immunity occurs when a high proportion of the population – about 70% for Covid-19 – has developed immunity after exposure to the virus, or through vaccination and somewhat protection of that part of the population is not immune. However, letting the virus spread to achieve this is that allowing so many exposures could also lead to countless complications and deaths worldwide, especially among the most vulnerable.
The idea of collective immunity was a strategy of the Swedish government to neutralize Covid-19. At the start of the pandemic, the concept was also presented by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a way to reduce transmission.
The two governments have since tempered their support for the strategy. But that didn’t stop the subject from entering social media.
As for “slaughter”, this has several meanings. Picking fruit means throwing away damaged pieces before quality ones are shipped to the store – or thinning fruit trees to maximize their harvest. Slaughter in terms of animal populations – humans for example – involves hunting or slaughtering the weakest or sickest animals to reduce the number of herds.
The country is clearly divided. Many of the pro-Trump base treat a potentially deadly virus not as a science but as a political mix of the left. Some also do not believe in wearing masks and reject social distancing.
In a society that has always honored young people and young people and strangely seduced them, it is not surprising that the elderly are considered disposable by some. But I’m 60 and I’m still dynamic. I enjoy working with clients to help them achieve their goals. I would love to be there to watch my children’s marriages and continue to frame their careers. I want to hold grandchildren and play with Walter, my little dog.
People my age and over will be more vulnerable to exposure as society reopens. College and school students could spread the virus even if they were better able to shake it. For us, our pleasures before the lock will be a distant memory when we think our only option is to stay inside and pray for a cure. A friend of mine said that this is just Darwinism and that only the strong will survive. A religious friend says it’s biblical.
I don’t expect to be able to go back to New York which I love for its energy, its museums and because I was born here and raised my children here. Without any treatment or vaccine, I fear that as activity resumes, I will only be able to wait in my apartment and go out alone in a disinfected elevator to be able to walk around the neighborhood.
We must be aware that this could be the next phase of our nightmare. Other societies honor their elders. Ours must stop using senseless phrases to eliminate them.