Has everyone lost their minds?

I just want to start off by saying WHOAH people! What is happening to everybody? Where did logic go? Where did common sense and understanding go? In just the past 24 hours I have seen people finger pointing, yelling at each other, shouting about conspiracy theories, threatening others, protesting, and panicking. That is a ton of unfriendly verbs right there. There is nothing good that is going to come from any of it. What’s simmering underneath all of it? : the pandemic and the politics swirling swirling around it. Let me take a minute and give you my honest perspective on it. Let me also be clear that what I am going to say is based on facts and personal observations. I am not here to sway you, convince you or otherwise change your direction. I just want to give you something to consider. If it happens to help you press pause on panic and anger, fantastic! If it doesn’t, it needs to be said anyway.

Ok here goes. I am here to tell you that Covid 19 is a real virus in the Corona virus family, which is the same family of viruses that cause the common cold. As you know, there is an infinite variety of viral mutations that can cause a cold and thus, we will probably never have a vaccine for it. Some of us will go down like a wildabeast for weeks with congestion, trouble breathing, coughing and even fevers. Some of us will get a little runny nose for a few days to a week and that’s the end of it. A small group of high risk people may even die from it. Now here comes Covid 19, a corona virus. It can mutate like other Corona viruses. It is ridiculously contagious like a cold. The vast majority of people that get it will have bad cold symptoms. Some people will be completely symptom free. A small subset will get seriously ill and may even die. This is crazy scary right? Of course it is. That’s a natural response. But, let’s put it in perspective. There is a certain subset of unfortunate people that are more at risk for everything due to comorbid conditions. These are the folks that need to always be careful, whether there is a pandemic going on or not. When you do the actual math on the covid thing, with verifiable numbers, the death rate is extremely small. I get it, even one death is too many. Of course it is. I am just saying that it is my opinion that our reaction and response to Covid perhaps should be in better proportion to the actual statistical risk it poses. We deal with many infectious and terrible things that can kill people every single year and they have not instigated a world mess of this proportion. I seem to recall complaining about the “latest shitty upper respiratory illness” as it blows through the world every year. In my lifetime alone we have had AIDS, H1N1, SARS, ebola, and the year round outbreaks of flu. I have news for you. AIDS and the flu have not miraculously disappeared, just because we are not talking about them. They are not the cool kids anymore, but I can remember being inundated with all kinds of bits of information each time one of these outbreaks started and feeling momentarily overwhelmed, but then we all went on. We didn’t shut down the economy and add financial despair to the shoulder weight of an already distressed country. We didn’t wipe out all other news and saturate all of our overwhelmed receptors relentlessly for months.

Let me be clear. I know this virus is real. I work in three different hospital systems. I have seen everything from the icu patients to the asymptomatic patients and everyone in between. Half of my family has had it….all have survived thank goodness but other people I know haven’t. One of my favorite people in the world died of Covid. But guess what, every time I have found myself scratching my head on why someone died, I realized after investigation that they actually had a comorbid condition that adversely affected their Covid path. It just makes sense. These cases we hear about in which someone died unexpectedly, I am willing to bet that the vast majority of the time there was an underlying condition as well. Just because we don’t hear about it or the person didn’t know, doesn’t make it not true. I think in the case of Covid, it’s all the things we don’t know or feel sure of that get to us the most. We hope a vaccine is coming, but it won’t be universally available for awhile yet. When it is, I am sure that some people will refuse it like they refuse everything else, even though we have all been clamoring for one for months. How does that make sense? It’s like we want to be able to control a decision about something, anything, just to say that we did whether it is good for us or not since we all feel so out of control.

So what am I really saying is that I think the whole pandemic has provided us with a view into how quickly everything can go wrong with misleading information. It has showed us how forced panic is not the way to go to convince people to follow guidelines. It has showed us that leaving people to their own devices without clear communication leads to nothing but chaos. It has showed us that when we come at people from all sides with negative and oppressive tactics, we don’t even allow them the opportunity to make good decisions. We have got to get it together and do things and think things based on actual facts and reintroduce common sense into this global scenario. Otherwise, we are just not going to make it through this.

Hang in there.

Dr. Katz

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