A Convenient Catastrophe
I remember as a young child when the first remote controls for televisions came out. I found it a curious device, we had managed to change channels on the television quite happily without this device, which seemed to be destine to get lost or crushed or run out of batteries. I imagined it would not be popular and fade away, like 8 track tapes. And to be clear on the the period in time, there were only a few TV stations and cable was decades away.
I was tremendously wrong. And one of the things which typifies especially US american behavior is we have a slaving devotion to convenience. Many will, for example, stream the same song repeatedly, rather than download it – because streaming is easier. And we assume we will always have the internet when we need it.
Everyday many people watch the light rail fly past as they sit alone in their cars in rush hour traffic, because it is more convenient to take your own car, more convenient to not bother car pooling, more convenient to leave work at the same time 90% of the workforce is leaving work (it would be inconvenient to change my schedule to avoid rush hour). We pay in time and money for this type of convenience.
Turns out, pandemics are crazy inconvenient. What if you should want a haircut? Or to defund the police in a mass non-violent movement? What if you want to have an indoor rally crammed with supporters who are discouraged from wearing face masks?
And this inconvenience is most of why the coronavirus is going to hit the US harder than any other country. Yes, we have terrible leadership, especially at the Federal level. But the information is now out there, you can try to blame the president who suggests you inject bleach. But you don’t trust him for anything else, so this seems a weak excuse. Are we really washing our hands enough? I fear not.
The event which made me realize our chances of survival were seriously diminished was the “Covid Herd Immunity Fest” in Ringle Wisconsin. This event coming in a few short weeks will host 2500 people in an outdoor space designed to hold 10K.
When I first heard of this event i thought to myself “I don’t think that is going to work”. I did not know exactly how, but it was clearly too bold. And indeed, this event has had a rough ride. Two of the originally scheduled bands have dropped out of the event, one explicitly because of the festivals name.
The festival has changed it’s name, but what appears clear is the event – with it’s version of social distancing will take place. Sadly, it is not enough for us to say “well, I don’t like it so I will simply not attend.” The hospital that may fill because of this type of event, may be your own.
I use remotes to control televisions these days, and I use face masks whenever I am near strangers (a technology I am forecasting will be increasingly popular). But I fear that this joke about herd immunity will become a tragic reality.