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Thursday, March 26, 2020

More Contagious Than Covid-19

There's another sickness now spreading faster than Covid-19. Clinicians have tagged it NotMeSyn-20. It is an insidious illness that simultaneously attacks the brain and heart. In the brain, symptoms include: faulty reasoning, narcissism, rage, rationalizing, and discrimination. The sickness causes a hardening of different chambers in the heart, leading to callousness, judgment, numbness, and cold. Sociologists estimate that this illness, if unchecked, will add tens of thousands of deaths on top of what Covid-19 could already produce. 

Not Me Syndrome, as it has been dubbed, can strike individuals or large groups. How do you know if you have it? Check your thought processes. How carefully are you safeguarding yourself and your activities to avoid catching / spreading Covid-19? We're all social distancing, but if you aren't, why not? Are you thinking, "I'm young and strong. I can handle a virus." Or are you thinking, "I don't really need to take precautions because, odds are, I'm not a carrier?" If so, you are thinking small. You are thinking selfishly. And your thinking could get someone killed.

We are reading about this kind of viewpoint in headlines every day. We see it in the stores when all the meat or medicine or tp is gone. People thinking, "I've got to take care of #1 by hoarding." All that does is deprive the needy or less able among us, or at the very least, removes the possibility of equity. Thousands of Spring Breakers drunkenly proclaim: If I catch it, I catch it. No big deal. Subsequent articles report that many of these same young people are now positive for Covid-19. Who knows how many others are infected because of such callous behavior?

Selfishness has always been an insidious sickness. I know personally because I’ve been selfish in many ways throughout my life. It’s a struggle, especially with something so confusing and scary as this. I felt it when I went to the grocery store the other day. This particular grocery store didn’t have a hand sanitizer kiosk so you can clean your hands on the way in and on the way out. Once in the store, I kept my distance from people. I never picked up anything unless I was going to buy it. I didn’t touch my face—even though my blasted mustache chose that particular time to itch like crazy. But still, I kind of threw up my hands in surrender because I began to think: how can I possibly be safe enough? I mean, once I left the grocery store, I touched the steering wheel of the car. I turned on the running lights. I twisted the radio knob. I touched the door handle to my home…and then, I washed my hands again. It’s maddening, but I’m resolving not to rationalize. I’m going to take every possible precaution because it’s not just my life.

I don't know anyone with this view, but I've read that there are people out there who think that "old people" dying is an acceptable risk. I mean, "hey, they already had a full life, right?" Wrong. None of us gets to place an arbitrary value on human life. That is way above our pay grade. That is selfishness on a Hitler, survival of the fittest, scale.

Trump’s proposal to reopen the American economy by Easter is insane. We’re not even close to the apex of this virus. Spurring on thousands of potential carriers to get out and mingle for the sake of economic growth is reckless at best; diabolical at worst. Any national policy that values dollar health over human health is a sign of real sickness.

We cannot think, “Well if it’s not hurting me, then all is well.” Not Me Syndrome is deadly. It’s irrational. It’s selfish. Throughout human history, the worst human atrocities have been committed by those that dehumanize other people. Let us not, by taking chances, be guilty of such thinking now.

We all need to do a prayerful self check. We need to protect others, not just ourselves. Stay home. Wash hands. Shop wisely and take only what you need—not what you think you might need for the next three months! We are at a point where it’s not just a good thing for all of us to work together. We’ve got a pretty stark choice: work together so that we can save each other or go our separate ways to weep alone.