March 26, 2020
I’m not an economist or a doctor or even a nurse. I’m a language teacher and amateur journalist. What I DO know how to do is sift through a lot of information, try to separate facts from lies, and lies from meaningful, useful, honest fiction (like parables and parodies, for example), then reassemble them in teachable / learnable units, appropriate for intended readers. Having confessed that, I want to venture an observation, based on my own perspectives.
Our economy, the world economy, has not stopped working. A lot of us still enjoy electricity, electronics, running water, gas, flushing toilets, cars, gasoline, and an array of products to choose from in supermarkets that are still up and running. Transportation, while limited, is still available to almost anywhere. Our trash gets picked up, firefighters and police are on call, and God bless all the hospital personnel and health professionals who are giving their all to hold back the coronavirus tsunami. All of this means that many, many people ARE indeed working. Some are working at home—organizing, thinking, coordinating, giving direction, keeping records, but many others have to be on the front lines.
Because a LIMITED number are on the front lines, protection is more feasible and effective, and we owe it to them to do everything possible to make sure they have what they need.
The economy is alarmingly slow, but it is under control.
Meanwhile, literally millions of us have a part to play in slowing the virus down by staying home, working from home, studying at home, homeschooling, taking care of each other and reaching out to others as best we can. A lot of us are able to do this in clean, climate-controlled surroundings, with a world of resources at our fingertips, and in relative safety and comfort.
HOWEVER, If we are too quick to crowd the marketplaces again, we risk seeing what an uncontrolled economic breakdown is like. When too many people are simultaneously too sick to go to work, we may find ourselves without electricity, running water, and all the things we are still taking for granted. The sick people may not be sick enough to die. They may even have a complete recovery ahead, but…IF TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE TOO SICK TO GO TO WORK ALL ON THE SAME DAY, THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT WILL BREAK DOWN.
Don’t #StayHome because I said so. Pay attention to the people who have studied biology, viruses, epidemics, sociology, history, and medicine. Show compassion and be generous whenever and wherever you can to those who are affected and those who were already suffering even before COVID-19 showed up.
We may be able to win this war, but it will take a lot of us working (or not working, as the case may be) TOGETHER.
Mary Ann Lesh