By Caitlin Kelly
I won’t belabor you with the endless details of the coronavirus pandemic — trusting that you’re paying attention to reliable sources of news like the World Health Organization.
If you live in the United States, where millions — like my husband and I — have no sick pay or access to unemployment benefits since we are self-employed, this is very worrying.
Thanks directly to the coronoavirus, we’ve just suddenly lost a very large piece of paid work — with no access to unemployment benefits — that we’ve been counting on for months; unlike many Americans we do have savings.
The only people I know who aren’t panicking right now have significant savings or the ability to move back home with their parents to cut their living costs.
That’s a small percentage of Americans.
What worries me most isn’t just the lack of preparedness by the American government and the lying grifter in the White House “leading” it all — but the bedrock of traditional American values.
The “I”ll do whatever I want and screw you” behaviors I’ve seen for years.
Only now, they’re lethal.
If you’re on Twitter, as I am, you might have seen the hashtag #CoronaKatie, a young woman who tweeted:
I just went to a Red Robin [a fast casual restaurant chain] and I’m 30 [a very high risk group for spreading the virus.]
It was delicious and I took my sweet time eating my meal. Because this is America and I’ll do what I want.
Get used to being alone!
I can’t adequately express how angry this selfishness makes me.
I fully expect many of us, unwittingly, may have already infected others while we remained without active symptoms. I feel guilty and worried, and don’t even know if I should.
As one brilliant UK physician Graham Medley, a professor of infectious disease modelling, has said — stop behaving as though you hope to avoid the virus.
Behave as though you already have it and do everything in your power to not infect others!
I moved to the United States when I was 30 — but was born, raised and socialized in a country with two attitudes profoundly different from the United States, to this day, both affect how I think and how I behave:
cradle-to-grave healthcare provided through taxes
a national, equally bedrock concern for the common good, which this public policy makes abundantly clear.
Anyone who still insists on going out into crowded, shared public spaces — unless medically or legally necessary — is a fool and possibly risking others’ deaths.
If you’re OK with this, please stop reading and following this blog at once.
As you likely know by now, anyone over 60 — with a weaker immune system than those younger — is more vulnerable. Those with underlying conditions, especially respiratory, are very much at risk; my late mother, who died in a Canadian nursing home February 15, had COPD and other health issues. It may have been a blessing she died before this, as nursing homes are a petri dish for this disease.
I am scared.
Even though we have savings, we’re wholly self-employed and if our work dries up, we’re screwed. Whatever the U.S. government offers as help, it never — as usual — affects anyone self-employed.
For now, Jose’s two anchor clients are still going and he is able to work from home for one of them. I have work through mid-May, but nothing after that.
We will figure it out. We have to!
I pray that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.