Like you, I’ve been hearing about “flattening the curve” for weeks now. And there are even signs that we have indeed succeeded in doing just that. But if you look at the models, ‘success’ is a curve that is indeed flattened but is also elongated. The result is a bit like when you take a piece of dough and press on it to make a pizza. You take something tall and squat and flatten it, so it is now it is long and thin.
Social distancing to flattening the curve may indeed have kept our healthcare system from being overwhelmed, and bought us time to come up with a vaccine and better treatments, but what if a vaccine and better treatments don’t come or are not as effective as we would like?How long do we social distance? What price are we willing to pay economically and socially to try to keep this virus under wraps?
Also, what about people who suffer from other medical conditions which are, in essence, being thrown to the wolves so the healthcare system can focus on COVID-19? What about people who make use of and find relief in what is currently called ‘alternative treatments’ like massage, acupuncture, and midwifery? These modalities are, in essence, illegal at the moment.
From what I can tell, lifting social distancing now without a vaccine, herd immunity, or better methods of treatment would simply result in a spike in the curve just like the very one we were trying to avoid, or worse. So I am not advocating for lifting social distancing or taking sides here. I think what is important is that we start to ask these questions calmly, clearly, and with compassion. I believe everyone is doing the best they can, but not being afraid to ask these questions is essential, as is being able to answer them without dogma or knee-jerk reactivity.
It is likely no matter what our answer is, people will die. Yes, people will always die. People die of cancer, drunk driving, war, drug abuse, obesity, terrorism, lung disease, suicide, starvation, assassination, old age, malaria, the flu, heart attack, murder, shark attack, drowning, and now COVID-19. In case you haven’t noticed, the human race is still losing its battle against death, and there is nothing we can do about it. Death is still with us, and COVID-19 is just one more way the infinitely creative universe has come up for us to do what we all must one day, which is to die.
That which is born must die. It is when we discover that which is within us that was never born that we realize our immortality.
Douglas Johnson E-RYT 500, YACEP