“What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”F. Sherwood Rowland
Despite what many might believe, life is a series of judgement calls. We often face a plethora of options with little or no clear guidance on what path to follow.
As we first venture out on our own to face these choices, a lack of experience compounds the problem or youthful exuberance—what some might see as youthful indiscretions—makes us vulnerable to the verities of fate. Whether there is such a thing as fate or pre-destination doesn’t really matter.
Whether we make choices or fate made the choices for us, the ramifications still take effect. I, for one, believe in free will. As we gain experience, the value of making considered judgement calls becomes all the more clear.
The critical importance of judgement calls come into sharp focus when we face the decision about following the guidelines as we re-emerge from under the shadow of COVID-19.
Science offers the best basis to weigh our options. Emotions, instinct, and gut feelings, while useful, can sometimes be dangerous when making decisions that may affect the lives of others. Our emotional need for stability, consistency, and flexibility in our daily lives comes with a caution label.
Sometimes what we desire the most is that which we need the least.
Science tells us this virus is dangerous, easily spread, and highly contagious. Those who suffer the most severe—sometimes fatal—symptoms cross the spectrum of humans. There is no “common” victim. Treatment protocols, such as they are, are by necessity tailored to the individual patient. Doctors and nurses are making some of the most significant judgement calls because there is no widely accepted treatment protocol, although we are gaining knowledge with each passing day.
Until we develop a vaccine, and until our collective experience provides us with a roadmap to the most successful treatment protocols, this virus poses an imminent and deadly threat. One that is not going away because we grow tired of the inconvenience, see bogeyman hands in the restrictions, or wish it to be so.
The science on the progression of the virus is clearer than it was several months ago. The effectiveness of social distancing, as debilitating on our daily lives as it has been, seems to have slowed—but not stopped—the spread of the virus.
Yet many seem to ignore the facts before us.
They will ignore the predictions based on deeply considered analysis of the evidence we have before us—not guarantees, not certainties— for no better reason than a gut feeling. Science suggests keeping these controls in place, while we relax them in a managed way, as the best course.
We should make that an elemental part of our judgement calls.
The premise is simple. Control the spread, minimize the drain on hospitals, until we develop a vaccine. Virus have always affected humans. Evolution has always changed viruses. Another will mutate and replace this one. It is using the best tools we have to face the threat that will make a difference, not focusing on the inconvenience.
And when this passes we need redouble our efforts at preparing for the next one. This is a judgement call based on facts and experience not emotions, frustrations, and irrationality.
People flood social media with memes and numbers and arguments on both sides of the issue, yet these forums are almost always emotion-based and agenda driven. And those who would follow medical advice from such forums should seriously question their own judgement.
Those who see visions of a new Black Death scourging the world want to lock themselves away until they can be guaranteed of their survival.
Those who see the hands of a governmental conspiracy, controlled by the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, yet invisible deep-state, want to throw open the doors, toss caution and rationality to the wind, and go back to “normal” without so much as any acknowledgment of the real and deadly threat.
Why some who protest against these closures feel the need to bear arms is beyond me. It makes them seem more unstable and less rational. And those who cower in their homes out of an irrational belief they can forever avoid exposure to viral pathogens are equally delusional.
We face significant choices over the next few months. Many of those personal decisions will be judgement calls; follow guidelines, wear a mask, keep practicing social distancing. While we all may live our lives, and we should not passively accept government imposed limitations, keep in mind our sense of human decency can guide us.
I, for one, will wear a mask until the science says it is safe not to. I will limit my exposure to others and maintain a social distance. I will do these things not just to protect myself and my family, but to protect everyone.
I do not want to spread the virus to anyone else even if I have no fear of catching it myself. I do not want to cause the death of any other human, even if I did not know I did.
Why would anyone want to bear the thought of making such a poor judgement call?
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