Georgia's governor announced plans to begin reopening our state's economy today—relaxing stay-at-home orders and such—and I'm just not sure I'm on board. It's pointedly important to concentrate our relief efforts to areas of the country currently experiencing an outbreak (like, for example, we should have been rushing supplies to New York instead of suggesting they should have prepared better) and I know staying home is difficult for some people (I'm honestly enjoying it, so...) and that a lot of people have lost their jobs over the course of the last month (like an unprecedented number) and everyone would like life to get back to normal. I get all of that.
I just worry that we're taking things a little fast and that we're not taking things seriously enough.
The population of Georgia is 10,620,000 and so far we've seen 19,399 cases and 775 deaths (1242 cases and 94 deaths today) and we're talking about loosening things up a bit. Neato.
Canada has seen several more cases and deaths, but that's to be expected since their collective population is quite a bit higher than the state of Georgia's. However, today they saw approximately the same number of cases and deaths (1773 cases and 103 deaths). Their population, for the record is 37,590,000 and they've seen a total of 36,829 cases and 1690 deaths. That's 45 deaths per million.
And they are freaking out.
Georgia is experiencing 73 deaths per million. And they're just, like, that's cool.
I couldn't find numbers for the Atlanta-area, which is obviously the hot spot in our state (cities, boy, I don't know), but in Gwinnett county alone (population 963,250) there have been 1181 confirmed cases and 42 deaths. That's pretty easy math there, since we're pretty close to the 1 million mark—we're at 43 deaths per million. I'm not sure we should be getting comfortable.
Alberta itself has a population of 4,371,000 and they've had 2908 cases with 59 deaths. 13 deaths per million people. They are not comfortable.
People in High River aren't comfortable. It is true that some of my contacts (friends and family alike) there didn't believe it would happen there and hadn't been taking adequate precautions. But it is amazingly scary how fast this virus can spread and I don't think we can afford to become complacent.
Cargill, one of the main employers for the town, has completely shut down operations (due to 350+ cases being traced back to their plant). Workers will receive 80 hours of pay during this quarantine time, according to my sister, which is excellent news for the workers.
I don't know how to make this any better for everyone or anyone but I feel like it's too soon to relax. I feel like we don't know enough about how this virus works to feel confident enough to lower our guard. And I'm not even particularly worried about getting sick myself; it's the idea of having so many people around me die. If I could avert such a tragedy, I think I would.
No one wants to be the next New York (12,850 cases per million (and 965 deaths per million)), or the next High River (with their 26,923 cases per million (and already—easily—at 76 deaths per million with...one death...but who knows what will happen in the next few weeks)).
Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.
I feel like there is an order of operations. Life is first.
It's always been mind-boggling to me how little value is placed on life in this country (from my perspective). I don't understand why the healthcare industry runs the way it does (ie. in a way that seems to not value life). I don't understand how anyone could feel their "freedom" is more important than another person's right to live. I just don't get it.
So we'll be staying home.
I feel incredibly blessed/lucky that Andrew got a job when he did and that it's secure (for now). I feel lucky/blessed that we can choose to stay home, that Andrew can work from home, that I can teach our children, that we have a home and food and enough. I feel so lost, so angry, so hurt for and because of those who don't. I don't get how we can't take care of people.
Like, complete brain failure.
I. Do. Not. Get. It.
And I don't know what to do to make it better.
I'm not sure what the best choice is. I feel like it's probably not this one (re: loosening restrictions) but I guess, like, time will tell. I'm so happy we're volunteering as guinea pigs. Yay...science...?