Be Wise, Save Lives

Last week a colleague shared a story with me that I found to be extremely disturbing.

Even more disturbing is that similar stories are being heard around the world with potentially devastating consequences.

My colleague had been invited to attend a meeting with a long-time associate and his new business partner.

This took place early last week while we were all social-distancing but still going to work.

When she arrived at the meeting, her associate’s partner approach her with his hand extended to shake her hand. She politely explained that she was not shaking hands and was maintaining a healthy distance.

His response shocked her. He chided her for her gullibility and then told her, in no uncertain terms, that he had chosen not to participate in all this mass hysteria and that, for him, it was business as usual.

The disturbing part of this story is not this man’s belief that the world’s response to COVID-19 has been blown out of proportion – he has every right to believe whatever he chooses to believe,  it is that his behavior, his commitment to “business as usual,” potentially places the lives of others in extreme danger, and he has absolutely no right to do that.

A new word was added to our lexicon this week. Covidiots is now the accepted term for those whose willful ignorance poses grave risk to innocent others, and this man, by his cavalier attitude, has clearly earned the right to be a covidiot.

Sadly, beliefs and actions like his put us all at risk and it is startling how many people share his views. Just yesterday, results of a recent survey were published and showed that 22% of the people polled strongly believe that response to this pandemic is enormously out of proportion.

I was chatting with a physician friend of mine on Tuesday and he made a comment that was startling in its truthfulness. He said, “the greatest risk to us all is the sheer inconsideration and stupidity of others.”

As mentioned, all those who choose to view this as much ado about nothing are fully entitled to those viewpoints. What they are not entitled to do is to allow their beliefs to guide that conduct in a way that poses risk to others.

This past weekend a resident in the condo building in which I live hosted a party for some 30 of his friends. When he was questioned about the wisdom of posting such an event his justification was that he and his friends are all in their early 20s and therefore, not at risk.

When it was pointed out that he or his friends could easily infect others, he shrugged his shoulders and explained that “$#!+ happens.”

Society holds us all accountable for the consequences of our actions and if ever there was a time for us all, globally, to be aware of the potential consequences of our behavior, that time is now.

We all need to be there for each other. We all need to care about each other, and we all need to think before we act.

There is no precedent playbook to guide us, we are building the rulebook as we go along.

The experts tell us that asking intelligent questions is the best way to get intelligent answers and I believe that collectively we can all play a role in halting the spread of this highly contagious disease by constantly asking ourselves two simple questions before we do anything or go anywhere.

1. Will doing this place me at risk of contracting coronavirus?

2. Will doing this place others at risk of contracting coronavirus?

A YES answer means don’t and a NO answer means go ahead.

Asking these questions may well save a life.

And perhaps the life saved will be our own.

Stay well. Stay healthy. Stay kind.

Till we read again.

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