DO YOU REMEMBER?

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov. From left to right are Death, Famine, War, and Conquest; the Lamb is at the top. (from here (en.wikipedia.org))

Are we going to have a sad “new normal” following the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Some people seem determined to make It so. Try googling “coronavirus” and “the new normal”.

What exactly does the expression “the new normal” mean? Origin of ‘the new normal’ as a freestanding phrase (english.stackexchange.com) provides some information on the origin of this idiom, but here is a straightforward definition.

The current state of being after some dramatic change has transpired. What replaces the expected, usual, typical state after an event occurs. The new normal encourages one to deal with current situations rather than lamenting what could have been.

Housing costs plummeting is the new normal.

Having less discretionary income after the stock market crash is the new normal.
She expected to be saddened by his departure and accepted her feelings as the new normal.
Spending less on entertainment is the new normal during economic downturns.
Now that the baby was born, having less free time was the new normal for the new parents. (from here (urbandictionary.com

We have reached a critical juncture in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have started reopening America for business, but we wonder what that means. Will there be a new normal?  Everett Piper has written a couple of articles for The Washington Times that address this topic.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) doesn’t actually represent a new threat or even an especially grave threat. In 1917 when the Spanish Flu began to sicken and kill some people, governments largely ignored it. That virus was about as bad as Coronavirus (COVID-19), but nobody knew what to do about it. In the midst of WWI, they also had higher priorities. Therefore, people stopped to help the sick, but otherwise, they went about their business.

In 2020 our technology has progressed. So we have tried, to save lives, something different. We have used a technique called social distancing. To carry out social distancing to the greatest possible extent, we have even required many businesses to close. Is this a good idea? Consider what Piper is driving at in his two articles by framing his two themes as questions.

  • At what point does our desire for safety become self-destructive?
  • When do leaders become despots? What is the function of our government? Is it to protect our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or are we supposed to serve our leaders? Do our rights come from God or our government?

We have begun reopening business in America. We can evaluate the continuing risks posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) thoughtfully, with respect for each others rights, or we can submit to an irrational fear. When some people suggest we need to continue social distancing in the extreme, we can consider whether the cost is worth the gain, or we can just fearfully give in.

If we react in panic, we will see growing signs of four dreadful horsemen. If we are fearful, we sitfar apart asking sad questions.

  • Do you remember when we sat eating and laughing together in restaurant?
  • Do you remember attending a high school football game?
  • Do you remember getting a haircut or going to the beauty parlor?
  • Do you remember going to the gym?
  • Do you remember camping in the woods?
  • Do you remember going to the polls to vote, when elections were still mostly honest?
  • Do you remember when children still remembered restaurants, live football games, barber shops and beauty parlors, gyms, camping and in person voting?

33 thoughts on “DO YOU REMEMBER?

  1. I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’ve read a few articles lately that death rates for COVID-19 may be quite a bit much higher than reported. The NYT compared average past death rates in several cities to current death rates and it appears that COVID-19 may be the unreported cause of as much as 50 percent higher death rates in some areas. It seems that these deaths are often happening at home and the bodies are not being tested for the virus.

    Also, according to a few articles that I have read, the COVID-19 pneumonia has a way of sneaking up on people so that they crash all at once. People are walking in to emergency rooms with O2 levels the equivalent of being at the top of Mt. Everest. That would normally make them unconscious if it happened all at once, but somehow the virus tricks the body into not realizing it has such low oxygen levels until the patient is gasping for last breaths.

    Liz could probably explain all this better than me. It seems to me that people expect science to be more conclusive than it tends to be. Obviously, COVID-19 like Climate Change, is what it is, regardless of the partisan ideology of those observing it and making decisions. With so many factors and unknowns, science provides only a window of data on such things that allow only a range of probabilities that are only more or less perfect and subject to change as new confirming or negating data arrives. Often we confuse correlation with causation. This gives us only risk and harm reduction analysis in the form of uncertain probabilities. The moral implications of what we do with that information is another thing.

    It seems to me that Liz is right. Ideologies are about creating the comfort of certainty, and they don’t deal well with inclusive data, especially if it goes against the ideological bias. This is happening on both sides. On the other hand, and despite my joke below, the virus doesn’t really care what political party you belong to or what your ideological concept of the government’s role is. Like climate change, it just is what it is, whether we completely understand it or not. It will either kill us or it won’t. The threat is either overblown or it’s under appreciated. We will either find ways to mitigate it or we won’t. It really doesn’t care if your political inclination is to ignore it because you don’t want to give the government more power to react to it or you want to overreact and give the government complete control over our lives to the point that we’d rather risk the virus.

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    1. @tsalmon

      The Liberal Democrat news media wants the virus to appear as dangerous as possible, and the mayor of New York added a bunch of people who died at home (never even got tested for COVID-19 to the list of those COVID-19 supposedly killed. Statistics are can be manipulated

      We don’t have much of a choice. No work? No eats! Turning that simple fact into a political issue is just stupid. The issue — what social distancing has always been about — is trying to avoid overloading our hospitals. Now our hospitals are losing money because our medical facilities are UNDER UTILIZED. The means people who need to be treated for other problems are either told to wait or afraid to go for treatment.

      The virus has little effect on the vast majority of people. Statistics say COVID-19 kills people who already have serious problems. In addition, we are finding lots of people were infected who did not know. Not tested. If that is true, the lethality of the virus is proba

      I don’t take The New York Times seriously. I have heard about the issue with O2 levels. Lots of speculation. 🙄 The The New York Times is just working to use the unknown as scary as possible.

      It really doesn’t care if your political inclination is to ignore it because you don’t want to give the government more power to react to it or you want to overreact and give the government complete control over our lives to the point that we’d rather risk the virus.

      COVID-19 is an “it”. It doesn’t think. That issue is not under dispute. What you are contending against is the insistence that people, because they do think and have personal motivations, cannot be trusted with power. Therefore, we have to be careful not to give people any more government power than necessary.

      Like

      1. So you’ve got it completely figured out and everybody else is just devious or stupid. Unfortunately, I’ve never been blessed with such powers of persuading myself. I assume it’s a blessing….

        “We don’t have much of a choice. No work? No eats!”

        You should have told me you were starving. I would not let that happen. I do hear that there are positions opening on the butchering line at meat processing plants. It seems that many workers have called in sick. Some have died. They probably deserved it for poor lifestyle choices though right? I’m sure your family will be fine.

        “We don’t have much of a choice. No work? No eats! Turning that simple fact into a political issue is just stupid.”

        Yes, stupid. And yet here you are doing it?

        “Statistics are can be manipulated”

        I think it was Twain who said that there are lies and damn lies and statistics. It is what it is – there may be other explanations for the numbers, but we can’t make it true or not true by wishing it away.

        As for the hospitals, I think that you may be wrong on that one. The unused portions of hospitals and staff were not shut down because they were saving the space and staff for COVID-19. They were shut down for the same reason everything else shut down – to try to halt the spread.

        As for the lethality number, I agree that it is an unknown truth, a truth that both sides are making decisions less on variables that might provide some probability, but on what they ideologically want the truth to be.

        Another story I read which I don’t completely understand is that viral load can effect lethality, maybe more than age or other health vulnerabilities. The amount of exposure to the virus, either from long exposures to a highly infected person or from exposure to many infected persons seems to make the a person sicker and more likely to die – a reason why many more younger, healthier health care workers are dying.

        There is also some evidence that people who have had the disease can be reinfected. If true, this may change the equations for lethality and mitigation.

        Sorry, did not mean to challenge your wonderful certainty with ideologically inconvenient ambiguities. I’m just not used to flying blind when I risk killing my loved ones for a haircut or a slab of pork. I’d kinda like to know more even before I force other people to feed me while I hide out at home. But that’s just me. You have those God given rights to be as reckless with your life as you want I suppose. The question is: Did God also give you the right to be reckless with other people’s lives, even old and infirm people? What responsibilities did God give you to your community, and “least of these”? There must be a Bible quite in the Gospels on that somewhere…or maybe everywhere?

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        1. @tsalmon

          When we first got the model predictions that COVID-19 would kill lots of people, we did not have much data. Therefore, the model predictions were not especially good.

          When we practice social distancing, we do so to prevent too many people from crowding our hospitals at the same time. Until we have a vaccine, we cannot prevent the spread of the virus. The virus is too contagious. All we can do is slow the spread.

          The flu poses much the same problem, but we don’t stop bunches of people from going to school or working. We don’t implement idiot regulations that make it impossible for businesses to operate. Instead, we make tradeoffs, and we argue whether the tradeoffs are good enough.

          You don’t want to go out to eat ever again. You don’t have to, but you have cause to stop anyone else.

          See https://citizentom.com/2020/04/30/is-the-coronavirus-covid-19-a-gigantic-hoax/

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          1. “When we first got the model predictions that COVID-19 would kill lots of people, we did not have much data. Therefore, the model predictions were not especially good.”

            This is strange to me for numerous reasons. First of all, COVID-19 is still killing extra people at a rate of over 2,000 people per day. And that’s with mitigation. If it continues killing at that rate, and assuming that opening up parts of the economy without sufficient care doesn’t greatly increase the rate, then that’s getting into hundreds of thousands of people in America alone that will be dead. Is that number acceptable? What number is unacceptable?

            What if the virus, unabated ultimately kills .5 percent of Americans? That’s roughly 1.7 million people, again just in America. Is that an acceptable number? Does the fact that it may be mostly people ours and our spouses’ ages or people with certain health issues make any of these numbers acceptable?

            What is the dollar to life rate that is acceptable? If it takes X number of dollars to mitigate Y number of lives but government at various levels to carry out those actions, would that make any saving of lives at any cost unacceptable?

            Like

          2. @tsalmon

            In 2017, an average of 7,708 deaths occurred each day. January, February, and December were the months with the highest average daily number of deaths (8,478, 8,351, and 8,344, respectively). June, July, and August were the months with the lowest average daily number of deaths (7,298, 7,157, and 7,158, respectively). (from => https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6826a5.htm)

            The people that the Coronavirus is supposedly killing already have serious problems. Lots of them are in eldercare facilities. With the increase in testing, anyone who tests positive and dies supposedly died from the coronavirus. So we have more coronavirus deaths. The mayor of New York inflated his stats by adding the names of a bunch of people who died at home. The mayor had no way of knowing if they had the coronavirus or not. He just assumed that they did.

            We don’t have a cure. We just want to make certain we have hospital beds available. We do, and that is the excuse that was used to shut down the economy.

            You want to hide under a rock? Go ahead, but stop trying to drag everyone else under your rock. That is not maintaining proper social distancing.

            Like

    1. @tsalmon

      Made in China, a Communist state? Utterly brainless and destructive? A contagion that must be suppressed at any cost? That sounds like an accusation altogether typical of the so-called mainstream news media.

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      1. Not so sure about that. Seems to me that the COVID-19 viruses just want to exercise their God given natural right to infect as many humans as possible without birth control, without consideration that they destroy their host environment, and without regard for the opportunities of other germs.

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        1. @tsalmon

          I can see why you are not so sure. What we think depends upon what kind of data we give our brains. You may wish to consider the Apostle Paul’s admonition.

          Philippians 4:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [a]lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, [b]dwell on these things.

          COVID-19 viruses don’t have any God-given rights. They were not made in God’s image.

          Try looking in a mirror. What do you and Coronavirus (COVID-19) have in common?

          Like

  2. Tom you are correct that this is the first pandemic where we’ve instilled such extreme measures to try and combat it. Certainly a first for purposely shutting down a global economy and throwing people out of work. I’m convinced now that was a mistake but don’t begrudge our leaders for initially doing it.

    We’ve know for awhile now that was the wrong choice, but most politicians fear not getting re-elected over doing the right thing. My governor is talking about keeping some businesses closed for several more months and not re opening until several left wing policies are put in place (mandatory paid time off, free childcare, etc…). That’s asinine and most certainly not based on “science”.

    The new normal is the same as the old in that politicians will always seek power from tragedy. What’s different today as how quickly and easily the general public can see this. Whether we do anything about remains to be sen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tricia

      I am just glad we have a few countries who decided to go for herd immunity, and we know China released that virus on it. If we can point such examples — obvious proof government does not always make the right decisions and cannot be trusted — we have some hope that we can defeat the Liberal Democrat effort to prevent a crisis from going to waste.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the fundamental problem is that everything is political now.
    So people are split into two very divergent camps and can’t agree on anything.
    I mean anything.
    They can’t even seem to have a conversation outside of the officially anointed talking points.
    I think everyone is getting crabby. I know I am.
    And there are some absurd claims out there (on both sides).
    Anyway, last night our son broke his arm and only one of us was allowed in the hospital with him.
    I sat in the car waiting for three hours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Liz

      Ouch! I hope that broken arm heals easily. I remember when I broke my ankle in junior high. Sat in the emergency room half a day. First I had to wait to see the doctor. Then I waited because the doctor was in consultation. They were worried the growth center was damaged, and my ankle would not continue to grow properly. I learned then that going to the doctor is all about waiting and do my best to avoid having anything to do with doctors.

      Like

      1. Thanks. 🙂 Yeah, he is bummed, but doing okay this morning.
        It was really more of an elbow dislocation with a small break (and likely some ligament damage…we have an apt with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow).
        He was wrestling with his brother.
        Friend of ours told us this morning the same thing happened to him…dislocated his elbow wrestling with his brother when he was in high school.
        He was a SEAL (team 6!) so he turned out okay. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @Liz

          Wrestling is rough, but boys almost have to do it. Rough-housing is in that Y gene.

          I actually dislocated my older daughter’s elbow when she was about two. I was holding her hands to keep her from running off, and she was trying to jerk her hands away from me. Some how she managed to dislocate her elbow. I was horrified, of course, but we took her to the doctor, and he fixed her elbow quickly enough.

          Like

  4. Tom,

    I cannot imagine a return the old normal until a vaccine is available.

    As for a new normal, we have to be fools if we have any of the numerous health conditions that create a greater risk of dying if contracting COVID-19.

    I see wearing masks a new normal for anyone prudent.

    I personally won’t eat at any restaurant if the cooks or servers are not wearing masks and gloves.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    PS What really irks me is seeing everyone walking around in China with a mask and the USA has a shortage of N95 masks because we outsourced 90 percent of medical protective equipment to China and the masks are available in China and not the USA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Scatterwisdom

      I am not going to tell anyone over fifty not to be careful of getting the Coronavirus (COVID-19). However, relatively few people (those with certain preexisting conditions) who have not reached advanced middle age have much to worry about.

      Unless a mask is worn properly, a mask does not do much to keep us from getting that virus. Even the N95 masks leak if they are not snug around your nose and mouth.

      What masks do is prevent us from cough and sneezing directly on others. It also if we keep our hands clean helps us to keep the virus off our hands. Therefore, we all need to wear masks out of respect for the safety of those who are vulnerable to the virus. It is a small price to pay so that the vulnerable can leave their homes in safety.

      Nevertheless, we should not expect those who are not vulnerable to give up going out to eat, attending concerts, sitting movie theatres, getting haircuts, and so forth.

      I doubt that any of us want to give up ever being hugged again. Yet that is where extreme social distancing leads us, and that is what some seem to want.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tom,

        I agree with you that people over 50 are a higher risk and we need to reopen the economy.

        Masks sadly unveil the total breakdown of preparedness of our society and leaders.

        While masks only reduce the risk, if we were prepared for a pandemic, there never could have been the need for the total quarantine, in my opinion.
        .
        For example, the latest directive in Illinois urban areas is everyone must wear a mask in public places as a step to reopen our economy. In other words, an acknowledgement on the need for masks to prepare for a pandemic..

        As I stated, I am peeved seeing pictures of Asian societies walking around with masks.
        If Interested, how and why they have access to masks, check out my latest post.

        We should have been prepared. For example, in 2014 on the subject of masks, government was working on a method to clean and reuse N95 masks in event of a pandemic.

        The USA has a record of never responding unless there is a crisis.

        This pandemic is sad proof of this statement and the cost we will bear would not be as significant as it has been in boht lives and treasure.
        .
        Regards and goodwill blogging.

        https://rudymartinka.com/2020/04/29/usa-political-folly-trust-leadership-king-solomon-blog/
        .
        ,

        Like

  5. Good post, Tom. “A new normal” is what we tell people when we mean “adapt or die.” It’s actually a really creepy phrase to use in terms of our freedom and liberty. Uh, no, I’m not going to be adjusting to a “new normal,” thank you very much.

    Also, our desire for safety has already become self destructive. We’ve already done a great deal of damage and destroyed some things. We haven’t even begun to see the damage we’ve done. On the bright side, sometimes you just have to dump everything out to clean it up properly or to remodel. So as a culture or a society, we’re simply going through a rapid period of shift and growth. That can be a really good thing, so stay optimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @IB

      Thanks.

      Like your take on “the new normal.” That phrase is really used as pressure tactic. If “you” are not willing to accept “the new normal”, there must be something wrong with “you”.

      I am kind of sad about all the waste. Throwing away food, for example, just because the supply chains are not working. Part of that is the virus, but part of it is the fact we have already kept this economic shutdown in place too long.

      One thing is obvious. Mass transit makes the spread of respiratory diseases easier.

      Like

  6. Seems like just another way to divide us, which is exactly how the sections of the government want us. Afraid of our neighbor and relying on them for our next move. “In this together” has become a bit like a cultish mantra. Because we aren’t in this together. This is clear by how many government officials are working comfortably from home while the “expendable,” sorry…”essential” workers continue on. How far will we let this go? I was glad to hear that the shooting range in Lynchburg sued Northam to stay open and won. There is still one reasonable judge out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @Lisa V

      Some of our leaders, quite a few actually, seemed determine to create anger, division and confusion, and the so-called mainstream news media keeps pedaling their message. Sad how many people cannot see through it.

      Like

    1. @alvarezgalloso

      Not much point in getting too angry. We are more stupid than evil. That is why there plenty of blame to go around.

      Actually, we are less effective when we are angry. Anger scares people. Therefore, when are angry, the people around us, especially if they don’t know us, tend not to listen.

      That said, at some point we may be forced into civil disobedience. In some places, that is already true.

      Like

      1. I am not angry. I am just saying calmly that the politicians and those who voted them in or support them must be sued. I also know stupidity. I see it here and have actually made comments to that extent

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @alvarezgalloso

          I am angry. It is difficult not to be angry.

          Consider.

          Ephesians 4:25-27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil [a]an opportunity.

          When we speak to people when care about, we can get angry if they have learned to believe lies and those lies are hurtful. We cannot let our anger control us.

          One reason I prefer to write is that writing gives me a chance to cool off before I express myself.

          Like

  7. I refused to accept the bullcrap New order. I have been going out although nobody wanted visits. I refuse to Live in fear. If thats the casé, I can Live in my ancestral Homelands in Spain and Latín América. I have blocked people who are Pro WHO and told politicians and MSM to f…off.
    I am supporting those who are fighting for our freedom and calling others towards when I can.

    Liked by 1 person

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