Experts said this would happen. They said the number of infections and deaths would increase when it got colder. They said the winter season would be brutal. Over the summer, the numbers began to stablize and we began to think we were in the clear. Now, we have all kinds of important decisions before us personally, locally, and nationally.
Do we travel for Thanksgiving? The CDC has recommended that we don’t. Does it matter if we are traveling by plane or by car? Obviously, traveling by plane is a bad idea, but should we be okay traveling by car? If the gathering is small enough should we be okay? Parts of the problem of leaving decisions up to us is that there are no hard and fast rules.
These things seem to happen in waves. The first wave is the knowledge that large gatherings are null and void. The next waves come around the normal activities that become verbotem. That could be a turkey trot or Black Friday shopping. From there you get the normal Christmas activities that will go by the wayside.
When you go out and about you see the signs of the wreckage of the virus. I went Christmas shopping yesterday and went to the local mall to go to Sur La Table. I wanted to buy some high end cooking supplies for my wife. Imagine my surprise when there was no Sur La Table. They apparently closed in September. It shows you how often I go to the mall.
I bring all this up because it has been suggested that we will have to shut down for another four to six weeks. A number of businesses have already gone under. Maybe they would have anyway. Businesses like the Mens Warehouse and Joseph A. Bank probably weren’t going to make it that long anyway. Fewer and fewer people are dressing up for work. The same is happening for companies like Ann Taylor and Talbot’s.
The restaurants that have shut down around town may have been on shaky ground anyway. I was thinking of the Steak and Shake in town. I never saw a lot of people there even when times were normal. You probably have those restaurants in your area too. So, maybe this was a way of exfoliating the dead skin of the economy.
Yet, how many businesses barely made it? What will happen if we shut down again? How many businesses will shut down permeanently if we are forced to shut down again? Unfortunately, these are questions that don’t have easy answers. They certainly don’t have answers we want to hear.
This is the hard, cold reality of mismanaging the pandemic. We just passed the 250,000 death toll, but it might be the economic toll that ends up being even more long lasting. If we continue as we have we could reach the 2000 deaths per day plateau or even worse. Imagine if it approaches 3000. The pressure to shut down will be enormous.
We are focused on a political theater these days and the absurd seems to gain more traction than the everyday and mundane. Consider this. We can’t seem to get any firm direction on what to do in schools. We can’t get firm direction on whether to open or close restaurants and bars. We can’t get firm direction on whether to fully mandate masks. We get mixed messaging from all forms of government, media, and opinion leaders.
If we could get a focused message we might not have to shut down. If we could get a focused message we could know whether we can travel and what those restrictions might be. We can know what activities are safe and which ones aren’t. Maybe we could get by without any further permeanent damage. That was the ultimate failure here and without coordination with the new administration it will be the lasting legacy of these past four years.