This first appeared in The Havok Journal on May 15, 2020.
Add equal parts Politics and Science. Shake. Run like hell.
We drive, fly, go under anesthesia, give birth and a few even don the uniform of our country. Two things can be true at the same time. Some activities are deemed inherently dangerous while being judged extremely safe. We weigh the possible risks, then decide on a course of action. We are always moving forward as a species.
There are undeniable risks from being exposed to, and acquiring, Covid-19 (even greater risk for some segments of society) but I have faith in the American people who now know many of the risks and the mitigation methods to reduce those risks. For those unwilling to assume those risks and remain at home, I applaud your decision. It’s right for you. For those who believe the risk to themselves and others is manageable and choose to venture out into the world, I applaud your decision. It’s right for you.
Like sharks, our species has to keep moving forward to survive. Sitting on our collective hands waiting for a vaccine could be a long wait. There isn’t a vaccine or cure for SARS or MERS, both coronaviruses. And these were identified in 2003 and 2013 respectively. There is treatment, but no cure or vaccine. So what do we do? We move forward knowing the risks.
Using testing as one mitigation strategy is a bit sketchy, at best. If those tested for the virus are found negative, that doesn’t mean twenty minutes later they aren’t exposed and infected. For those thinking they had the virus and get an anti-body test, there is currently no scientific evidence that they can’t be reinfected. I’m not saying testing is wrong or unimportant. I’m saying that regardless of the results, we need to weigh the risks, develop a mitigation strategy, and move forward.
I’ve had the same doctor for years and frequently follow his advice, but as for allowing him to be the architect of my existence, no. By his very nature, training, and temperament he is risk-averse. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, stay out of the sun, don’t eat sugar, don’t eat red meat, and on and on. All of that is great advice. But my job is to listen, weigh the risks, develop a mitigation strategy, and move forward with my life.
I am in that ‘old as dirt’ category that everyone is suddenly worried about. I only got here with a lot of luck and a few good choices. I believe that approach will carry me through this crisis. I can be trusted to not put myself in situations unsafe to my well-being. I can be trusted to make every effort possible not to expose others. I can be trusted to become knowledgeable about the current risks and appropriate mitigation methods and then move forward with my life.
Life is not without risk.
Geoffrey is a 25-year retired Army CW4. He has published several articles in both The Havok Journal and A2C2 magazine as well as published four books.