Can we stop presenting this as a binary option? Let’s be honest about which people are actually gonna die. I’m not talking about the old or infirm. I’m talking about the subset of the population that live in dense urban outposts, the ones who commute by public transport in subterranean ant tunnels. By day, they’re cheek-to-jowl in open-plan offices, each inhaling the exhaust fumes of the next. At night, they cluster into highrises like bats in a cave.
Extreme measures to flatten the virus “curve” is sensible-for a time-to stretch out the strain on health infrastructure. But crushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue-and beyond. Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) March 23, 2020
See? Not you. You bugged out months ago to your sprawling estate in the Hamptons. You’ve never set foot in an open office; you’ve got your corner suite in Greenwich. And even if you do contract the virus, you’ll be fine. Virologists refer to infectious diseases as “poor man’s disease”. Cuz rich people don’t die from viral infections.
You think Prince Charles or Sophie Trudeau are gonna die? Pfft. Cancer, now that’s a rich man’s disease. Cancer doesn’t care about wealth. That’s why everyone cares about cancer.
So your chances of dying from COVID-19 are veritably nil. But in an economic recession, YOU have the most to lose. In absolute terms, that is. Why should your stock portfolio suffer for the shitty life choices of others?
Then again, maybe you’re one of those bat-colony people. The ones who live and work in close quarters with proles. Maybe you don’t want your Grandma or anybody else’s Grandma killed by a virus. Maybe you know someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or you follow someone on Twitter who tested positive, or maybe you’ve enjoyed a movie starring someone who tested positive. For you, it hits close to home. This shit is real.
Then you see this Oxford study that says coronavirus may have already infected half the UK population. And WSJ says we’ve been overestimating the fatality rate. And look, New York just saw a decrease in the number of new confirmed cases. Coincidentally, doctors have been instructed to stop testing patients unless the patient requires hospitalization. The assumption is that New Yorkers have all been infected already. Maybe that was the peak. Maybe the disease has spread far and wide, and we’ve all developed herd immunity.
Soon, instead of reporting on every tragic death, the papers will begin telling triumphant stories of patients who fought the virus and made a full recovery. Deaths become statistics. You scroll through Twitter and no one’s talking about COVID-19. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer are back on store shelves. Election season regains dominance over national attention. One day, like a miracle, the virus disappears.
And then you realize that this was never about saving lives versus the economy. There was never really a choice at all. Civilizations around the world have spent thousands of years telling stories of angry vengeful gods, unseen and unpredictable forces, stories written by the rich and powerful persuading the proletariat to stay scared and docile. It was never about coronavirus. It was all just a bunch of fanciful storytelling to make you soft and pliable, numb to the fact that you were gonna kneel before zog no matter what.