Image from BBC
I received a post card in the mail telling me I won a cruise. Call xxx number. I thought “Terrible timing!” There are hundreds of people stranded on cruise ships because of the coronavirus. A cruise is the last thing I want to do.
Then I thought, there are probably lots of people who are thinking the same way. That means avoiding cruises, which means no one is cruisin’. The industry is likely taking a big financial hit because of the virus. Is that why I got a free cruise? Is the industry desperate for customers? To me it looked like “You’ve got to be kidding me. Take a cruise now?” To them, it’s “We’re pulling out all stops and trying everything to get a customer.”
The coronavirus, now called Covid-19, has turned the world on its heels. I have closely watched the numbers because I knew from the moment I learned about the virus that it was going to cause problems. And the problems aren’t just about quarantining people. Many forces come into play that complicate the picture. Take China, a relatively closed country in terms of what the government wants others to know, and the WHO (World Health Organization), an organization that needs China to be open in order to get the data. Without the data, the WHO can’t develop an appropriate response to the virus. Are the numbers correct? Probably close but unknown. At least there are representatives from the WHO in China to see for themselves. That’s invaluable. The WHO walks a fine line between reporting the truth and not offending China’s effort to control the message.
The latest development is the rescue efforts of US citizens brought back from China and cruise ships. Everything was going smoothly until the US government tried to place the infected/maybe infected in a developmental center in Costa Mesa, California and an abandoned military base in Anniston, Alabama. Both cities stopped the process legally, for now. The “Not in my back yard” mentality reveals two things. People are scared, with good reason. They don’t want any risk of becoming infected. Second, the government is going to have to do some fancy tap dancing to allay fears if it wants to find new housing for the virus victims. Did the Feds talk to officials in these towns first? Not to get their permission, necessarily, they don’t need that. But to address concerns and prevent citizens from blocking their efforts. It sounds like they didn’t. Not being up front is backfiring on the Feds.
And what about the virus victims? They are probably feeling damned low right now. US citizens whose communities do not want them. There they are, facing a potentially fatal illness with nowhere to go. They are at the mercy of not only the virus and the government, but their fellow citizens. Going home is not an option. Better to keep all the virus victims together and not risk spread by sending them back to their respective locales. On the other hand, how long can they live on a bus? I can’t imagine being in that position. Ironically, the ticket out of the bus is to get sick and go to the hospital. From there you go home, if you don’t die first.
Situations like this bring out the best and worst in people. What started out as simple quarantining turned into displaced citizens with no place to go. A nightmare for those who could be one step closer to home. Sort of like taking two steps forward then three back.
We will likely need more places to house virus victims. The Feds need to do some crisis management that includes input from others in the community. Or else, they will be left with strong arm tactics to get the job done. And we know how well that goes over. Why not sweeten the deal and throw in some funds to make it more palatable? The locals may think twice about turning away victims if they knew some infrastructure money was coming their way. Besides, if all victims are housed properly, there is no risk to the community. Spread is more likely to occur among the victims themselves and family members, not the locals. But the locals need help sorting out fact from fiction. The Feds can make this work. First, they need to step up their sensibilities and realize they went about this the wrong way.
The virus is not going away anytime soon. I’m sure it will be around for months. It may be close to peaking, but even so, illness and death will continue for quite a while. My prediction is there will be an economic impact down the road, maybe even a recession. Companies like Apple are already taking a hit. We get so many goods from China. Everyday items we take for granted either won’t be there when we want them or the price will be sky high. It will be months, maybe years before we fully recover. Global events such as this affect us more than physically. The economic and emotional ramifications must be dealt with as well.