Every time I look into my daughter’s eyes I’m thankful I disobeyed the CDC and the WHO.
17 years ago, both organizations gave my wife and I clear and concise instructions that under no circumstances were we to board a plane to China. Literally the next day, we disobeyed them both, for what would be only the first of three times.
We stayed in contact with both organizations for the first half of our dramatic journey to China to adopt our first child. The SARS epidemic was running rampant through the places we were going to be.
By the time we were into our third day there, I had all the symptoms of the deadly virus.
My cough was terrible and completely unstoppable. And one of the translators pulled me aside and told me that whatever I did, I should not – under any circumstances – go to a hospital. Because if I showed up at a hospital with my symptoms, they would quarantine me with SARS patients. And if I didn’t already have the virus, I would certainly get it in quarantine.
I assured him I would not – under any circumstances – go to a hospital. Then, the very next day, my wife and I had to take our daughter to a…you guessed it…hospital.
As I tried to hide my nagging cough, conceal my clammy hands and smile through my sweaty brow, a Chinese lady tried to give me her son to take back to America. And as she was spraying saliva in my face and while my wife was cleaning bloody gauze off the pad they were about to lay our daughter on, the police came rushing toward us.
I was certain I was about to be forced into quarantine.
As it turns out, they were coming to drag the woman (and the 3-year-old boy she was trying to give me) away.
It was a pretty harrowing three hours until we were able to go back to the hotel, thinking it was all over. But we had to do it all over again the very next day.
At least on that day, nobody tried to give me their child.
After that, we stopped calling the CDC and WHO. None of it made any sense anymore.
What we came to was this: life is more complicated than what any organization can predict.
They were worried about us getting SARS. But SARS turned out to not be as big a problem for my daughter as her missing chromosome. THAT was the life-long burden she has had to carry. And it has affected every tiny inch of our lives from that day to this.
Nobody at the CDC warned us about that. The WHO would’ve had no knowledge of my daughter’s condition, and certainly no way to speak to it.
These are just organizations full of imperfect humans, calculating things they only have pieces of knowledge about at any given time, trying to come up with rough guidelines based on all of that.
They’re not coming down from a mountain with tablets of stone, telling us exactly what is going to happen in our lives if we do this or that or don’t do this or that.
Right now, several entire industries have gone under because we’re all trying to not spread a virus. First, they said shelter at home and don’t – under any circumstances – wear masks. They they said don’t – under any circumstances – go anywhere without a mask.
Now, the WHO is saying maybe we should’ve never locked down in the first place. And the CDC is saying that 85% of the people who have gotten Covid were regular mask wearers, showing that it may not be as effective as once thought.
Somehow, fear gripped us and we were willing to do whatever we were told to alleviate it. But those things have now become little religious rituals that may or may not have one thing to do with how public health as a whole is faring.
Yes, people have died. Yes, many of our friends have gotten really, really sick. But while we’ve been watching and waiting for that magic bullet we just know has our name on it, explosions have been going off around us.
People are dying from heart attacks and strokes and Cancer and suicides and everything imaginable, because they’re not getting the checkup they should’ve gotten or getting the test that should’ve been run.
We’re actually starting to lose our minds and agree to things that we’re going to look back on later and wonder how and why we ever agreed to it. The Governor of California literally issued a decree reminding people to only pull their mask down in a restaurant when taking a bite of food.
Really? Is that where we are? Is that stopping the virus? Is wearing a mask while you chew, a life or death decision?
We’re allowing sporting events to happen – but only half-full stadiums and arenas. Are your eyes rolling back as far in your head as mine are right now?
And when I saw someone in our special needs community post that their child was denied access to E.R treatment for seizures, because the child couldn’t comprehend the concept of keeping a mask on, and the E.R was going to refuse treatment until they could keep the mask on, I knew we’d gone around some bizarre corner.
I talked to a doctor friend last week, who has treated dozens of Covid patients. And he was truly dumbfounded by the panic. “It’s just not a death sentence,” he said. “In fact, all the people I’ve treated have recovered fairly quickly.”
Yes, people die from it (or WITH it – which is the BIG distinction). And that 200 thousand number seems really big. But 60 to 70 thousand people a year die from the regular Flu. I wonder if we’re going to start tracking that the same way we’ve been tracking this.
I also wonder if we’re going to start using all of it as a virtue signal, like we’ve been using this.
If you wear a mask, you care about other people. If you don’t wear a mask you’re at best, a jerk; at worst, a murderer, etc, etc.
Masks don’t prevent viruses from mutating, which is what has to happen for them to be ineffective against future hosts. We don’t just stop them. It doesn’t really work that way.
These masks we’re wearing are just more things that are going to end up in a landfill or around a sea turtle’s neck, somewhere in the ocean. It’s time to stop pretending we’re saving lives by butting that bandana over our mouth at the bank.
All we’re really doing is maybe – maybe stopping the largest droplets of human fluid from jumping to the next person. We might not even be doing that, depending on whether or not the fabric is already wet.
The bottom line is this: it’s time to open the world up and let people breathe again. Let people play and dance and sing again.
Are a lot of people going to get sick? Probably. Are some people going to die? That’s a mathematical certainty.
People were (and are) going to get sick anyway. People were (and are) going to die anyway. Even if it’s not Covid 19, it was (and is) going to be something.
This is the very nature of life itself. You can’t stop living just because you know there’s an end to it in sight. There was always an end to it in sight. We just allowed this particular potential end to swallow us whole and control everything about our society.
But once we take off the masks and breathe in the fresh air and get back with our friends and families, and more of us get the virus and kick it, we’re going to find out that maybe a lot of the things we did to try and prevent that very natural turn of events, was nonsense.
And we will realize that really official sounding organizations with three letters in their name are doing the best they can with the info they have. But you can’t base your life on every word that comes out of their mouth, or you might end up too scared to actually have a life.
I think that very thing…every time I look at my daughter.
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