Like most kids, I hated taking medicine. In fact, the story goes that I so dreaded the bitter taste of cough syrups and the like, I figured out how to swallow pills at 3 years of age. Hated it that much. Until then, one way or another, mom was gonna see to it that I choked the stuff down. Because she understood something I didn’t. That the medicine would help me get better faster. I would’ve healed up eventually on my own, but would have suffered much longer without it.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I had a hearty case of Influenza A. Given it was the height of flu season, I headed to the urgent care at the first sign of symptoms and was prescribed TamiFlu for the first time. As I read about it, I discovered that it actually does nothing to treat the infiltration of virus you already have and, instead, stops it from replicating. By stopping the viral “spread” inside the body, the duration is shortened and severity is lessened. So maybe you have the flu for a week or so instead of two weeks or so.
I’ve been hearing from a lot of folks who are struggling with the seemingly aggressive calls for closures and social distancing in response to COVID-19. Not surprising, given how many of my social media friends are in the performance and/or service business, or are small business owners, my feed is full of folks really concerned about the financial impact. And we’re not talking about 401ks and investments here, these people are genuinely concerned about keeping a roof overhead and feeding their families in the short term.
There is no doubt that things are going to get rough…they really kinda are already for many. Most of us in the music business have had all shows cancelled through at least the beginning of May. Imagine finding out suddenly that you basically will have no income for the next month and a half or more. To their credit, most are hustling to create or grow additional income streams, but damn. And the same is true for friends in the service business. Bartenders, wait staff, cooks, service techs, handyfolks.
So I understand why I still see restaurant/bar/brewery/winery folks trying to turn their establishments into clean rooms and still get patrons to come out. That said, I’m still standing in the camp that it’s arguably irresponsible to do so. Now before the angry rants begin, just think about it for a minute. Yes, this virus is going to run its course, one way or the other. What we’re trying to do is impact the duration and severity of that course. We’re being asked to behave like “SOCIAL TAMIFLU.” To do in society what Tamiflu does in the body. Slow or stop the spread of the virus. And I am of the belief that taking bold (if painful) action in the short term could be the difference between a hardship that last weeks or a few months vs. something that drags on twice that long.
And this doesn’t even account for how doing so may just allow our healthcare system to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for care.