One thing I don’t get about many of the pundits and people whispering in Trump’s ear about re-opening the country is that many of them are older men, who are at greater risk from COVID-19 than many other people. While we shouldn’t underestimate the role stone-cold sociopathy plays in all of this, I also think many of them don’t believe they’ll get sick. Some of that is the result of ginormous egos, but some of that also reflects a cruel reality: they aren’t the ones who are going to be exposing themselves if (and when) things restart (boldface mine):
Let me suggest a simple test for those arguing for a quick return to business as normal absent a robust testing, contact tracing and quarantine program: You go first.
Trump should cease requiring everyone who comes into his orbit to submit to a covid-19 test. After all, if it’s not important enough for all of us to have the same protection, he should feel perfectly comfortable re-engaging with those of unknown health status.
Fox hosts who recommend hydroxychloroquine should be lining up to participate in clinical tests. They can be the canaries in the coal mine. (I would not be so irresponsible as to suggest they take it outside controlled circumstances.)
Business leaders and Trump sycophants such as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who push for a May reopening of the economy should be the first on the factory floors (shake every returning worker’s hand), the first to ride public transportation to and from work, and the first to pay social calls at nursing homes.
Among the covid-19 deniers, the maniacal capitalists and the Trump campaign cheerleaders, there is far too much eagerness to expose others to dangersthat I suspect they would be entirely unwilling to undertake themselves. They should abide by a single Golden Rule of public health: Do not advocate for others what you are unwilling to do yourself. Maybe if forced to consider the risk to their own health and lives, they will act with greater care.
You can’t really expect many of them to put themselves in the position of people they care about–those people really aren’t in their lives. But get them to admit they wouldn’t dream of risking their own lives at least.
In the context of mass transit, I’ve noted that systems run by people who use it work better. Well, maybe if they were forced to do that in this case too, they would be less cavalier with our lives.