I originally posted this short essay in 2009 but dusted it off last night after I received an email from a friend. He wondered if people really understand what it means to "flatten the curve" of the Coronavirus outbreak.
If successful, fewer of us will get sick, hospitals will be less overwhelmed, and fewer of us will die. That scenario is the win.
Victory, however, leaves more of us who have not contracted the virus. No "herd immunity." Ongoing anxiety for the healthy and well.
"We won't have a vaccine for another year," he wrote."If we go back to 'normal' once the curve is flattened, the rate at which the virus spreads will simply accelerate again. I can't understand why our leaders are setting expectations that we'll be back to normal in a couple of months. From my perspective, we're going to have to practice physical distancing for another year unless we find an effective cure, can manufacture it in large quantities, and distribute it so that it's immediately available to everyone who needs it . . .
Am I missing something here?"
I first encountered this phenomenon, where logic speaks one truth but authority another, circa 1973. I still remember the class like it was yesterday.
In my sophomore year in high school, we took a class called Political Ideology. It was taught by a terrific teacher, Orin Holmes, who announced on the first day of class that if we “played school” with him we would flunk. Nobody was quite sure what that meant, but we were game.
He tried again. “See the bow? See how it makes them look perfectly straight?”