We are being bombarded constantly these days with messages that present us with a binary choice when it comes to the coronavirus:
Lock it down or open it up.
We are confronted today with a situation that is threatening both our health and wealth, but we only have effectively two choices?
Of course that’s nonsense.
We are being asked to either shut down the economy and our freedoms ostensibly to save lives, or open up the economy to protect our freedom and ability to provide for ourselves which, it is argued, would risk lives.
Here is the reality of the situation.
We have a battle on two fronts. The first is obvious. That is the coronavirus. The second is one that people are getting very confused about.
The problem is largely in messaging. When people hear the word “economy”, most minds immediately envision nothing but dollar signs. Fat cats looking to fatten their wallets, materialism, and other things obviously less important than life itself.
But in reality the economy represents more than that.
The economy is also comprised of freedom of movement, human accomplishment, social interaction, production, and added value to society.
Effectively the very fabric of our being.
When you shut down the economy, in a way you are also shutting down life.
Additionally, when you shut down the economy, you threaten to plunge people into poverty.
And what do we know about poverty?
Science has already shown us that poverty leads to numerous adverse outcomes, such as obesity, disease, and death.
When you put it that way, it seems as though we’ve been presented with a “pick your poison” type of scenario. Either save lives from the coronavirus or save lives and mental well-being from a devastated economy.
But when did we lose our creativity?
We humans as a species are born creators. Don’t believe me? Look around! You are surrounded by the very results of human ingenuity. You are reading this article on an electronic device, likely one that also makes phone calls!
Do you mean to tell me we can’t also walk and chew gum at the same time? That we can’t focus on defeating the coronavirus and not shutting down our lives at the same time?
We can take care of both fronts at the same time and we should.
We need to promote the ideas that can lead us there, which is why I’ve written this article today.
Following are a few very simple, achievable ideas that we can use as at least a starting point to figure out how we can do both.
So let’s get started.
Protect the most vulnerable from coronavirus
When all this started, we did not know a lot about the new coronavirus, COVID19. It made some sense to put the brakes on things for a couple weeks in the event the virus had the potential to rip through the population.
Now that some time has gone by, even though the virus has had some devastating effects, we can at least say it is not a virus that rips through the population, instantly killing its targets like the virus in the move Contagion.
Thankfully, this is not Contagion.
What we do know is there are very specific groups that have shown to be much, much more vulnerable to this virus than others.
The elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
At one point, it was estimated in some areas that upwards of 93 percent of those who died from COVID19 were elderly with underlying health conditions.
I don’t know where the stats are today and they are constantly moving anyway, but that is an astounding figure.
A figure which doesn’t mean healthier people should ignore the virus, but one that identifies where our primary focus ought to be.
So the first step in a nuanced plan is to protect the elderly and sick.
Some states have taken measures to do so, which seem to have been effective so far. In particular, some states have not allowed those in nursing homes who contracted the virus to return to that nursing home until they have been confirmed to be virus-free. Doing so has likely saved an untold number of lives in those extremely vulnerable facilities.
Since we know these facilities are the most vulnerable as this vulnerable population is congregated there, great focus needs to be focused there first and foremost.
Here’s an idea:
Focus unprecedented testing on nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and the like.
Produce massive numbers of tests, the least invasive kinds, and provide them to these types of facilities first.
Provide enough for testing that can approach daily.
Make tests available to those over 65, through insurance if need be. Test from home if they can and create express lines at testing centers if they can’t.
Nip every instance in the bud as much as possible and stop the spread among that population before it starts.
Doing so can protect these people from the infections or actions of others who may be less careful or less fortunate.
Take steps to ACTUALLY improve our health
While the recommendations thus far from the nation’s leading health experts have some merit, they are all based on one thing:
Avoidance has its place. Avoiding dangerous situations is one way to protect yourself from danger.
But it is only one side of the equation.
The other side is an offensive stance. To make yourself greater than the danger posed so it can’t affect you.
To that end, I am referring to building up your own health.
While there are no tested, proven “natural” methods known at this time to officially prevent or cure the coronavirus, scientific research has already shown us numerous vitamins, minerals, and supplements that can help in boosting the immune systems and slowing or stopping viral replication.
So, if we are being faced with a monumental challenge in fighting a virus, why not safely give our immune systems, otherwise known as our first lines of defense, all the tools?
Is there any scenario where ignoring the first line of defense is a good plan?
I won’t go into the science behind all the natural methods here, but simple searches can show you which ones they are. There are many doctors and health authorities who have done that work for us.
Something tells me we know about some of those methods already, though. Just try, even today, to get some vitamin C, Airborne, or zinc at the stores.
Congratulations to you if you can find some.
The good news about these supplements are that scientists have already determined the safe levels they can be consumed at. And given the fact that the nation is a captive audience to our public health leaders on a daily basis, it should not be difficult to educate people on safe usage to add another layer of defense against this virus.
Who knows how many lives we can save by using such a simple measure?
Both today and by creating helpful health habits that many will carry into the future.
To be extra safe, we can make certain supplements available by prescription from our doctors so we can be extra certain to use them in a safe way.
We can use the Defense Production Act if need be to cheaply produce some of them on a massive scale to be provided to the people through the medical system with guidance on proper dosage.
At the very least, we can give people a chance and we can do it safely.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
While taking steps to protect the vulnerable, allow the others their freedom
What we can’t allow is for healthy people or people on the verge of becoming unhealthy to be pushed into dangerous territory in the name of fighting this virus.
That means we cannot force people into positions where it is difficult for them to live their lives without worry (stress also taxes the immune system, our first line of defense).
We can’t force people into a situation where it is difficult get sunlight and fresh air, thereby risking their immune systems (more important now than ever).
Where it is difficult for them to socialize and easy to become isolated (can be devastating to mental health – depression is the leading cause of disability ages 25-44 in the US).
Where their mental health is put at risk due to isolation and fear.
And where ultimately their ability to live a sound, healthy life when this is all said and done is also put at risk.
The aftereffects of negatively affecting the mental and physical health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people is unprecedented and untested. Hopefully it does not become a major issue, but it is of great importance to ensure we do not cause it to become one.
That is why, once we have put a protective shield around the most vulnerable, we need to allow people to live natural lives. We can’t force them into confinement and put them at risk in other ways.
We should continue to promote remote work for all those who can, to ultimately lighten the load on many of society’s systems.
For those who want to expose their bodies to whatever this virus is, they should be allowed that freedom, if they choose it, along with the proper education and whatever protections we can offer them. And since we have first taken steps to protect the vulnerable, we can be much more certain they will not put those populations at risk.
In a free society, we can also know that those participating are in control of their own bodies and assume their own risks. As long as we protect those who do not want to assume those risks, we have no reason to confine the others to their homes.
Additionally, if so-called “herd immunity” exists in the case of this virus, we can then allow these willing participants to help us get there, while protecting those who are not willing participants.
We have more choices
Suffice to say, we can create a nuanced approach to dealing with coronavirus. These steps I have presented are not a complete plan as we must have more from all our experts. This is simply a primer. A road map to get us to a place where we can ultimately account for all our needs, not just one.
We can stop the devastation of coronavirus today while preventing the economic and potential health devastation of tomorrow.
We just have to have an open mind, collaborate, work in peace with one another, and put politics aside.
So start the conversation. You have good ideas, so let’s get them out there. Let’s create a whirlwind of great ideas that gets the best ones right up to our leaders, and let’s get our world in the best shape it’s been in yet.
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