The corona virus has reminded us that the most highly educated and the least are of equal value in their service on the front lines.
The artificial socioeconomic value system that ties human worth to occupation is once again revealed as the arbitrary paradigm that it is.
In this time of crisis, and needing all hands on deck, the people whose socioeconomic status is at the bottom–the retail clerks, the janitors and cleaners and private home care providers or nursing home staff, child care providers and delivery/truck drivers are every bit as critical as the PhD medical staff, the online technology software wizards, the virologists and pharmacists and medical researchers.
Regardless of how undervalued the lowest paid people may feel on a typical day, they are now the canaries in the coal mines and the heroes on the front lines. They’re providing services that are every bit as important as the doctors and nurses responding to the deadly puzzle unfolding before their eyes.
These contributions have been revealed to be of equal value in our reliance on them but the difference is, those on the lowest end aren’t being protected in the same way. Many aren’t wearing gloves. They can’t back away when they’re ringing through groceries. They’re depending on you to do that, to keep them as safe as you can by not being there at all, or by following the rules of distance, 6 feet or 2 meters, and staying home if you’re feeling any of the symptoms at all. And self-isolating if you’ve returned from a trip, meaning, going right home, not to any grocery store where you’ll be in contact with others, then staying at home (14 days) until you know you are not ill.
Parents are on the front lines in a whole other way. Their roles are now magnified. They are having to offer the comfort, provide the distractions, set the example, waylay fears and anxiety, cook and be especially fastidious around the house in cleaning and making sure everyone in their family, from children to octogenarians, understands and keeps themselves and others safe by following the advice of the public health officers.
It’s a challenging time for social butterflies. They’re already losing their minds or they haven’t even taken the advice to heart, still going about their lives as if nothing is all that different.
Someone pointed out that sometimes people respond to anxiety that way. They pretend everything is the same, denial their modus operandi. They fail to understand or take to heart that their actions can no longer be dictated by preference or whim when those actions may cause someone else to lose their life because of how well or how poorly they changed their behaviour.
That’s the difference in mortality numbers between Taiwan who did everything right (100 deaths) and what’s happened in China, Italy and what’s to come around the world when seemingly draconian protective measures happen too late.
Sometimes I feel like the people who have had little hardship in their lives, emotional or otherwise, are just not very equipped to have the resilience required when things change for the worse on a dime like this.
They are so used to getting what they want, everything at their beck and call, that it’s hard for them to imagine they have to do something different when that something isn’t their choice.
And the most dangerous, the conspiracy theorists, are in heaven and in hell, so status quo for them, I guess.
The human body and its frailty holds the power.
Accept everything you must do to keep yourself and other’s healthy. Accept everything. Accept what you can not change.
Flattening the curve means fewer people get sick quickly and all at once and that alone can save lives.
I’m not saying instant adaptation is easy or nice, but it’s not that hard either. Not really. Not in comparison to the worst case scenario you or someone who matters to you might find themselves in.
This video from an artist named Matteo Marchesi speaking near Lombardy, Italy, is compelling.
His father is an intensive care doctor. https://vimeo.com/398651424
Learn more about what’s happening in B.C. via the B.C. Government’s Covid-19 updates: www.gov.bc.ca