While some states have started loosening restrictions surrounding businesses and recreation, we in the Bay Area will definitely be on lockdown until the end of May. We were also the first to have a shelter-in-place mandate, on March 17.
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that the strictures on everyday life are tiresome, that the economic consequences are grim, that it has been a very hard 7 weeks. But I understand that a few more weeks of personal sacrifice may put our city in a better place for a long-term recovery.
Apparently the Bay Area is an outlier in that sense; a recent poll showed 68% of Bay Area residents are more concerned shelter-in-place will end too soon, compared to 20% who worry it will last too long. National figures swing more the other way. And it’s been posited, by political science professor Eric Schickler, that this is because “Bay Area residents tend to trust scientists and health officials more than in many parts of the country, and so they were receptive to the clear message they received early on.”
This blog is apolitical by design – there are many other forums for that, and I have absolutely no interest in starting a partisan melée. But I suddenly realized that, in the current climate of this country, when you say that you trust scientist and health officials, you are making a political statement.
For those of you readers who don’t live in the States, trust me that Americans in aggregate are more about id than ego. But one would hope that some sort of reason would prevail – “people who have studied public health and epidemiology, and specialists in scientific fields know more that I do about…well, safety, health and epidemics.” Not the case.
It’s frustrating to be stuck in my apartment, unable to work or travel, worried about my livelihood and my future. But it’s also frustrating to know that while I’m willing to do what scientists and health officials think will be the best course of action for a sustainable recovery, many would rather follow a path that seems both easier and advantageous in the very short term.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, just to say that I put a great deal of effort in trying to understand the perspective of others, and respect the fact that everyone chooses their own way in life. It’s just that these days, those personal choices have a much more acute and potentially fatal effect on others.
Compassion has been difficult for me this last week.
Do you find yourself getting caught up in disagreements during times of stress?
My task: guys. GUYS. Couldn’t do it again. When will I start writing before 6 pm? Sigh. However, I had wanted to be in touch with one of my old friends today, and at least that is (done!)