Posts on My Edmonds News have characterized government-mandated restrictions aimed at curbing COVID as “courage on life support” or people refusing to “take responsibility for their own health.” It’s not clear to me what, exactly, they are advocating. When a problem is as huge as the virus, the government is the only entity big enough to address it.
A million cases of COVID were reported last week, and on Saturday more than 1,300 people died – a number equal to three 747 crashes. The first wave, in April, registered 34,000 new cases per day; the second wave, in July, reached 76,500 per day; Saturday alone saw 167,000 new cases. Nearly 250,000 have died from the virus. (Figures from the November 16 Washington Post.) Thanks to deniers, and to people who refuse to mask up and/or gather in large groups, the total will grow again.
Is “courage on life support”? Or are we turning to our elected government to do its legitimate job when things get too big for the individual to fight alone, especially given the disinclination of some to fight at all?
Certainly, everyone one must “take responsibility for their own health,” but expecting the government to play a central role is simple reality in the face of extremely complex medical issues, medical supply distribution, setting public health standards, using the National Guard for distribution and testing, and ultimately, enforcing standards agreed on by a consensus of the people whose job is to study all these things. The states where government has done the least are now the hottest hotspots.
A part of the social contract is that we yield up some “liberties” for the greater good: We wear bike helmets, we use seat belts, we refrain from texting while driving. We refrain from outdoor fires when the air is unhealthy. We no longer use outhouse pits in urban area. Is all this “…putt[ing] your faith in government to take care of you”? Or is it rather allowing government to fulfil its legitimate function?
Bluntly, I don’t want to live in a state or country where elected government abdicates its responsibility to take care of crises too big for the individual to handle independently, or when my “liberties” are allowed to pose a threat to your health and well-being.