There’s not much point to looking at it on an individual basis. It’s like being bitten by a rattlesnake. Live in Manhattan, it’s not a problem. Fossick for minerals in the Mojave, it’s a different matter.

The chance of infection is outside your individual control, unless you stay isolated from all human contact. It depends on how prevalent it is in the community. Masks and social distancing and washing your hands a lot aren’t surefire, but it’s a belt and braces situation; each adds a greater chance of either not catching it or destroying it on your skin. The more precautions you take, the better.

The danger is twofold. Catch it, you get sick and possibly die. The chance of death is greater with age and existing respiratory conditions. In any case, you’ll likely have scarring on the lungs which will reduce your lung capacity for life, and make you more vulnerable to respiratory diseases in future.

But even if you accept that risk individually, others may not, and social behaviour breaks down as more and more people withdraw from social activities. Like participating in the economy.

If everyone is hiding at home, there’s nobody driving the trucks or putting food on the shelves or running the power stations. Things can get pretty grim if the food runs out, and we don’t make a real lot of it in the cities that our urbanised populations inhabit.

That's pretty much your zombie apocalypse scenario.

We’ve had plagues and pandemics before. Each bug has different characteristics. This one spreads easily, kills a small percentage of vulnerable people, and damages others for life.

It’s basically a matter of how much a society wants to protect the vulnerable people. Not everybody wants to kill their grandparents.

The thing that makes this disease more dangerous than the regular flu variants is that there’s no vaccine or drug that does much about it. Nobody in the medical world is talking about wide public availability of vaccines this year. 2022. it won’t be a problem, but that’s not much help for those of us who have to live in 2020.

Anyway, information on this thing is available everywhere. If you think American media is not telling you the facts, go elsewhere. Most countries in the world are superkeen to avoid the thing going viral — so to speak — and are implementing measures that seek to control it. For these places, American politics just isn’t a factor.

Right here in Melbourne there’s been a second-wave outbreak, the whole city has been ordered into lockdown again, the borders have been closed and the cops are patrolling the streets looking for people to make examples of. And that’s for one extra death of a man in his nineties.

Stay safe, Mitch.

Britni

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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