I am not afraid of being hit by a car. That’s not to say that I would want it to happen; it’s just not something that I live in fear of. Most of the time, I don’t even think about the possibility. Instead, when the situation warrants, I take precautions because I recognize that being hit by a car can be deadly. Even when it’s not deadly, recovery from the injuries can be painful, time consuming, and expensive. Therefore, I don’t play in the freeway. I look both ways before crossing the road. Basically, I am careful to avoid situations that would increase the likelihood of my being hit by a car.
And I am not afraid of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 and contracting Covid-19, but it’s not something I would particularly want to happen any more than I want to be hit by a car. I recognize that the disease can be deadly, and even when it’s not, recovery can be painful, time consuming, and expensive. So I take reasonable precautions. Basically, I am careful to avoid situations that would increase the likelihood of my being hit by disease.
There are times that it might be safe to play in the road. For instance, when I was young, we lived on a cul de sac. It was common for all the neighborhood kids to play in the road – running races, playing tag, kick-the-can, red-rover… While playing, we all kept a look out; if a car turned onto our road, everyone shouted “CAR” and dashed into the nearest yard. That was long ago. I no longer live on a cul de sac. Where I live now, the speed limit is 50 and nobody drives that slowly. It would be foolish for kids to play in the road here. Circumstances can affect what’s safe and what isn’t. Cul de sac – maybe safe. Major thoroughfare? Not so much.
Likewise, in disease prevention, circumstances can affect what’s safe behavior and what isn’t. People who are young and healthy, eat a perfectly nutritious diet, and have a robust immune system might feel comfortable in groups of germy people – just like I was comfortable playing in the road as a child. However, there are people who have health considerations that make it a bad idea to engage in risky behavior.
And guess what? You don’t know just by looking at someone what their circumstances are. That person who is staying home instead of getting together with friends? Maybe that person has asthma. Or diabetes. Or has another health condition that means always taking extra precautions to avoid germs. People should not need to divulge their medical history to others to avoid ridicule, and should not have to justify why they are taking steps to stay healthy – steps, by the way, that they may well have discussed with their team of physicians long before the events of 2020 ever hit. Other circumstances are at play, too. In some industries, if an employee gets sick, the county can shut down the business for a month. One sick individual can put hundreds out of work. It’s prudent for people to be cautious in their interactions and avoid those who are not careful about avoiding germs.
This year, I am having a peaceful Thanksgiving at home. For the first time in over thirty years, nobody is invited to join us. I will not be sad nor alone. I’ll be thankful for family who understand. Some of the folks who might have come have been gathering in groups, eating at restaurants, and choosing to live as if China did not let loose yet another disease on our world. That is their prerogative. For myself, I am choosing not to play in the freeway. That doesn’t make me fearful. It makes me prudent.