In major cities across the US yesterday, people marched to protest the nearly universal lockdown orders designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And Denver was no exception. An estimated 400 individuals gathered at the capitol, waving flags and signs, shouting, honking, and doing whatever protesters usually do.
Not until this morning was I aware that there was also a small counter-protest — nurses in scrubs steadfastly blocking the circling cars.
My heart goes out to those nurses. They are working ungodly hours, putting their own health at great risk, to care for those among us who fall victim to Covid-19. And to reward their courage and diligence, there are protesters in the streets!? Some of those doctors and nurses have died as a result of their work. And this is their reward? This is how the public repays their sacrifice?
On the other hand, my heart breaks for the people who have lost their businesses, their jobs, their paychecks, and even their homes as a result of the stay-at-home orders. There are massive breadlines and food giveaways. Businesses, even big ones, are declaring bankruptcy. Mom and pop shops, often operating on a shoestring, forced to close, will probably never reopen. Help, where there is any, has been slow in coming or may not come at all. It’s devastating. I can only imagine the frustration, desperation, and anger.
Still, what is accomplished by gathering shoulder-to-shoulder with a mass of strangers, most of whom are not wearing masks? (Wearing a mask, after all, would be an admission that the danger is real.) Will those protesters be better off if they go home with Covid-19?
I appreciate that I am very lucky. Yes, at age 77, I’m in a high-risk group and I am very afraid that Covid-19, if I contract it, will kill me as I lie in a hospital, alone, with no family allowed to visit me. But I’m lucky in that I’m retired, with Social Security and Medicare supporting me. I live alone and have for many years, and as an introvert, I am used to and enjoy the solitude. My income has not been cut off, my small business has not failed, I have not had to lay off employees, I have a roof over my head and ample groceries in the kitchen. My family members are still safe.
I believe the doctors (my dad was a doctor). The real doctors, the ones in the trenches, not the tv celebrity doctors like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. I will do what the real doctors say. I will help as much as I can and stay out of the way when I can’t. I will try to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Eventually, this too shall pass. And we’ll emerge wiser and stronger than before.