WE’VE ALL SEEN THE STATS.
As of this writing: Nearly 18 million cases in the United States and 317,000 deaths. My home state of California is breaking records every day. ICU space is at 0% here with no improvement in sight.
This is horrible and sad. But for most people that’s where it ends — we give our thoughts and prayers and then go back to wondering when we can eat inside a restaurant again.
Because at the proverbial end of the day these are just numbers. It’s math, and if there’s one thing Americans can agree on, it’s that most of us suck at math.
Numbers are cold, impersonal. The numbers for Covid are downright incomprehensible, so much so that some wonder whether all the precautions and protocols add up to making any difference.
The numbers don’t mean anything — until a number becomes a name.
When you can put a face on a statistic, it’s different. It’s personal. Because if it happens to someone you know, then it can happen to you.
I don’t see numbers anymore. Instead I see a colleague juggling childcare and work while his spouse is quarantined with symptoms. I see relatives in the hospital, a close friend smiling despite the breathing tubes.
The numbers now have faces and families, people I know and care about. Before this latest surge I felt sympathy, but now I feel fear. And I feel anger toward those who can’t see past the numbers, if they even believe those numbers in the first place.
No, a mask isn’t perfect. No, closing restaurants and gyms won’t stop every case. But doing something is better than nothing, and doing nothing means you are a selfish piece of shit. You aren’t a patriot, you are just an asshole without a mask.
Go watch a friend or relative fight for their life because of your bullshit conspiracy theories, and then tell me how your “rights” are more important. I’m sure everyone at the funeral will love to hear your Ted Talk on civil liberties.
This will get worse before it gets better. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to protect ourselves and each other. The virus wants to treat us all like numbers — it’s up to us to treat each other like human beings.