One of the more perplexing and upsetting things about the barrage of news about the coronavirus is the fact that its primary danger is to older, compromised people.
I’ve always associated that with other people, but the objective fact is that, statistically, I and now my wife, Risa, are members of that group. Fortunately I don’t feel old or physically compromised. I am still playing in a young man’s game, the used machinery business, and blog writing, and I think I can compete with all comers on both fronts.
The dilemma is “how do I play it” now and when the current scare is over. My children admonish me that I must be ultra cautious because I am a heart patient who barely survived a heart attack, and several cardiovascular blockages that should have killed me eleven and a half years ago. Four bypasses, valve repair, luck, and maybe God, saved me. But now I live a normal life, exercise, work a lot, and still remember the middle name of my mother. But does that still mean that I have to act impaired when I don’t feel impaired?
Yet I am also scared enough by the virus to be self-quarantining for a couple weeks because they say I am highly vulnerable. I am a member of the old and sickly 10% of the population.
I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was getting cocky, complacent, and aching to get back to work at the plant, when I wrote the first draft of this blog. I knew I could keep my distance and protect myself.
Then I read about Northern Italy in the Wall Street Journal.
I know people in Milan and Bergamo. My brother-in-law, Maury, was born in Genoa. I know the Tajariol family that owns ZPS Machine Tools quite well. They are my age.
Their world, and it is a beautiful place, is in chaos because of the coronavirus. Hospitals are completely overwhelmed. Hundreds of human beings like me are dying everyday — alone — because people are not allowed to be with them for fear of spreading the plague faster.
It is estimated that 60% of the Italian population has been infected. There is a real possibility of tens of thousands of people dying in Italy.
It is a terrifying reality, and it cracked my bubble of cockiness about myself and America when I read it.
China is beating the virus back now. Korea is too. Civil liberties and privacy are being abused by the government to snoop on people to guarantee separation and quarantine, but in this case it seems necessary.
In America we are depending more on individuals using common sense and tending to themselves for the greater good.
I am going to do my part. See you on the “other side.”
Question: Are you working or quarantining?