It didn’t have to be this way | Silvia Camporesi

An interesting read on what life was like in Italy as the COVID-19 virus made its way over. As a bioethicist, the author touches upon the ethics and dilemma that doctors faced as they tried to prioritize the use of medical resources as best as they can.

Younger generations have been asked to make huge sacrifices for older generations, with the expectation of only very limited benefits for their own health – and some big repercussions for their own physical and mental wellbeing, including the closure of universities and loss of opportunities to work. This is also the generation that will have to pay off the bulk of debts we’re now accruing to pay for government assistance packages.

Damn, I haven't even thought of that. I have a sister that's graduating soon. She is going to be starting her adult life in “Hard mode” difficulty. I'm lucky enough to have a job and be able to work from home. But these college seniors will soon enter a job market with millions of people unemployed, most likely competing for the same jobs that they will be applying for. That must be terrifying. This would be one good argument for re-opening the country and getting the economy going as soon as possible. Still, that must be balanced with making sure we don't risk a second wave of infections.

When I’ve discussed the ban on running with my friends, looking for sympathetic outrage, I’ve been surprised to find that several of them agree with it. On what basis? I ask. There’s no scientific foundation for the claim that people spread this virus by simply going for a run or walk. Isn’t that an unjustified restriction of people’s basic freedom? According to most public health and ethics scholars, it would be. Having access to the outdoors helps relieve pressure in a situation that’s extremely psychologically taxing, and public health policies should take into account the implications of the lockdown on their citizens’ mental health. However, my friends had remarkably similar answers: we stay home out of respect for the doctors and nurses on the frontline; we are all in this together; we are sacrificing our individual freedom for the public good; we need to show respect. To go running or walking outside shows a lack of respect, they say.

I don't agree with the ban on running, but I must say that I agree with the viewpoint of just staying at home out of respect for the doctors and nurses on the front-line. I say this as someone who has a sister working on the front-line. She sent us a picture of her a few weeks ago, decked out in PPE as she was getting ready to take care of her first COVID-19 patient. My mom, while not on the front-lines, is still a healthcare worker and sees patients every day. And then some of my really close friends from high-school work as doctors and nurses. I would very much like for them to not have to deal with more possible cases of COVID-19 patients.

Link: It didn’t have to be this way

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