I had a conversation with a friend who thinks that COVID19 is either a scam, or that a minor epidemic is being used to promote authoritarian goals. His interesting question: “Where are the funerals?” And it’s very true that for most of us there’s a big gap between the stories we read every day about overwhelmed hospitals, and the fact that many of us don’t know a single person who has died, or even gotten sick, from this pandemic.
What I tried to tell him: It’s a highly contagious disease that kills a small percentage of its victims: as of now, less than 1% of the population. But that 1% translates into a lot of people. So two seemingly contradictory things are true: In our own circle, we don’t see much evidence of the pandemic, but on the larger scale, it’s having serious consequences.
Perversely, I’ve wondered if we’d be responding better to a more lethal epidemic: if most of us had personal experience of the deadly side of this disease, we might, as a society, be responding to it more effectively.