We are living in surreal times in which everything is upside down. As society is opening up from the coronavirus lockdown, perhaps a metaphor best explains what we have gone through.
For the last three months, we have been living as if the whole nation is locked up in one huge leprosarium. The constant fear of death is everywhere, and yet only a very tiny percent died. However, the whole facility is dominated by this fear. All it takes is a hint of a new case of infection case, and large areas of the leprosarium are locked down regardless of the consequences.
A Leprosarium of Non-lepers
The strange thing about this leprosarium is that almost all its patients are not lepers. The vast majority are not even carriers. Stranger yet, these non-lepers must live as lepers taking care not to spread the disease they do not have. Moreover, they must treat all others like lepers, and must patiently accept to be treated like a leper by them.
Thus, each person is assumed socially to be infected even when testing negative. Everyone must be distanced from the other, as if each is diseased. Some non-lepers are also labeled “non-essential,” which means they must remain idle inside the leprosarium to “reduce the danger of contagion.” The rule is to avoid contact with everyone. Failure to treat non-lepers as lepers carries high penalties.
The only way out of the leprosarium is to become a leper. The minute someone catches the disease, the person is taken out of the crowded leprosarium and brought to often-empty hospitals full of unused beds to be isolated from the non-lepers. Inside the hospital, they are taken care of by heroic doctors and health workers who work scientific prodigies, curing many lepers (now rendered immune from contagion), returning them to the leprosarium.
This leprosarium also includes non-lepers who have almost no chance of becoming lepers. Thus, children and teenagers are locked up behind the leper colony’s walls at their tender ages to protect them from a disease that is attacking others. Science and statistics prove that children run almost no risk of death and run far greater risks from accidents and other diseases. However, no exception is made for them.
Inside the Grand Leprosarium, not only people but also things are assumed to be highly infected and contagious. Thus, everything non-lepers touch is not to be trusted and must be sanitized. No measure is too strict or caution too great to be implemented—even if it means destroying everything inside the leprosarium.
An Atmosphere of Confusion
This colossal leprosarium’s idiosyncrasies might be bearable if the place were administered competently and efficiently. Bedlam reigns, however. The loudspeakers blare constant and contradictory messages. A panel of experts rules. One day they say masks are good. The next that they are bad. They argue over how long surfaces remain infected—one hour, one day or even one week. Or how far infected droplets can spread. Other experts present distorted projections that predict catastrophes one day and drastically reduced revisions the next.
Inside the leprosarium’s fifty wards, different rules apply to make sure all non-lepers are treated like lepers. Some ward chieftains inflict draconian measures. Others are more reasonable. Yet no one can agree when it is safe to declare non-lepers to be healthy citizens again. The least politically risky course is a complex set of “phases,” which gradually return to a new, undefined and less than normal state.
Inside the wards, the non-leper patients wait around, somewhat dazed over what is happening. Rumors, conspiracy theories and reports of fake remedies circulate. One theory sounds so reasonable one day, while a contrary one seems more plausible on the morrow. Alarmists predict an apocalypse; minimalists describe the disease as little more than the most common illness.
Perhaps the most afflictive norm is the universal banning of Church services. Administrators and chaplains agree that gathering to pray in common must be forbidden. It is as if God too is treated like a leper. His people are kept away from Him, to avoid spreading the plague.
In the meantime, the leprosarium rapidly breaks down as no one can work or live under such unstable conditions. Trillions of dollars are needlessly spent, and tens of millions of jobs vanish, many never to return.
A Leprosarium or Asylum?
This is the crazy state of our leprosarium. Non-lepers are pretending they and everyone else are lepers. It is a place where people pretend to be what they are not.
This is not a description of a leprosarium but an insane asylum.
That is what America has become. There is no way it can be run rationally. Even the best of leadership is doomed to fail because the premises are all wrong.
No More Coronasarium
As we reopen our economy and society, we must abandon this gravely askew framework forever. We must not allow the nation to remain a giant leprosarium-lite with loosened restrictions. The model is flawed.
There is a crisis, and strong measures need to be taken. However, we must question the wisdom of a massive Chinese-style corona-sarium where all non-COVID Americans are all mistreated with equal rigor and severity. We have the data to know which sectors of the population (especially the elderly) that must be protected. The scientific evidence exists to guide us on how to keep non-COVID Americans (especially our healthy children and youth) in school, at work and running society.
If a second wave comes, we must not repeat the mistake, implementing another round of destruction to save society. The damage done by shutting down was immense. We will only gauge the full impact of this destruction in the months and years ahead.
A time of suffering awaits us. Let us appeal to God (who the leprosarium rejected) for assistance. Human measures have failed us miserably.
Source: Return to Order
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