Don’t Worry, Be Happy

I know we are living in difficult and dangerous times, when even going to the grocery store requires an act of courage. So maybe we should adopt the advice of the great American philosopher Bobby McFerrin: Don’t worry, be happy.

In his hit song from a decade or so ago, McFerrin opined:

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now

Well with the virus taking lives and destroying economies, I guess it is an understatement to say that “we have some trouble.”

Still, I can understand the sentiment of many these days when they proclaim “but when you worry you make it double.”

Well, I remain worried, and I’m taking this situation seriously. Wait a minute. I need to go wash my hands. Oops. I digress.

Anyway, I’m in the age group deemed to be most at risk. And based on last year’s health report card where I battled twice with pneumonia, I’m okay wearing a mask and social distancing. I also can’t imagine eating in a restaurant where servers are wearing masks and instead of napkins you are given clorox wipes. Ugh.

I’m also not sure exactly how to grade the Trump administration’s response to this crisis. I guess it rests somewhere between pathetically inept and catastrophic. But hey. What do I know?

Well, I do know that this has been a terrible hardship on business owners and on people who must work to put food on the table. But I also know that around 100,000 Americans (and counting) have died because of this pandemic.

Given all that, it appears that our national patience to adhere to expert medical advice is wearing thin, and calls — primarily from conservatives and evangelicals — to reopen the country are beginning to carry the day.

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I also discount the increasingly popular belief that this entire health crisis is some kind of government plot to take away our individual freedoms. C’mon folks. Trump and his cronies aren’t that smart. They can’t even get Mexico to pay for a wall across our Southern border. I digress.

So it appears that we are stuck between a rock and a hard place: keep things shut down to slow the virus and protect as many as possible or move as fast as we can to reopen, consequences be damned.

Here’s from an article on CNN:

All 50 states have now partially emerged from coronavirus lockdowns, but with only a handful of states showing significant improvement in infection rates, some experts caution it could be too soon.

On Wednesday, Connecticut became the final state to begin lifting restrictions, allowing retail shops and restaurants to reopen their doors.

Despite the reopening milestone, health officials say, Americans remain at risk of catching the highly transmissible and sometimes deadly virus.

Oh boy.

And we’re not just taking about a handful of people.

New numbers from the Penn Wharton Budget Model show that reopening states could cause positive coronavirus case numbers to tick as high as 5.4 million by July 24.

The model explores various scenarios under which states reopen, include continuing lockdowns, and a partial reopening. The model also forecasts those scenarios if social distancing rules continue to be adhered to or are relaxed.

For the PWBM forecast, the model considers that states reopen on May 18. All totals are cumulative, and include past positive cases and deaths.

If states fully reopen with no social distancing rules in place, as many as 5.4 million people could test positive for coronavirus. And if states reopen while still practicing measures of social distancing, nearly 4.3 million people are projected to be diagnosed with COVID-19 by the third week of July.

Partially reopening the states with social distancing rules in place would result in nearly 3.2 million positive cases.

The forecast represents a large uptick in positive cases in the United States which currently stands at 1.5 million, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.

And according to the PWBM, the number of deaths would also start to rise as states reopen.

Oh well.

Why worry, be happy.