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OK, Maybe One More COVID Post

I started a new job right before all the lockdowns started, which meant being onboarded at the new offices, given a laptop, and sent home. I haven’t seen the office or any coworkers since. I used to work with the manager at a previous job, almost 20 years ago at this point, which is how I got in. So I at least know one person there. But I’ve had to lean on him more than I’d like to. He could use having items taken off his plate. But even when I started with clients, I tended to be there for the planning stuff, and only did the actual execution from home.

As for switching jobs when I did, let me tell you, I’m damned lucky. I have spent the past 20 years worried whether I’ll have a job in a few months. I’ve never worked for a company that consistently made money. This company is, and because we’re in the clinical trial business, we’re expecting COVID to slow the growth a bit, rather than hammer us. Trials are still continuing, and we’re signing some COVID related business, which feels good to be helping.

Our club has been closed since the order mid-March. We cancelled all events, including my steel matches, before that. The place has been shut down. We were starting to wrap up a major construction project when this hit, and that had to stop. I’ve only been there to check on the place and make sure the mail gets taken in, etc. The club is a mess. Garbage has blown in from all over the place. It really needs a work party.

I figured this would be a good time to get a lot of things done for the club, but I find I just don’t have the energy. All the energy goes into the new job, and there’s nothing left over, which is unusual for me. My mental productivity is probably half what it was pre-lockdown. So I’ve had no energy at all for the blog. I’m an introvert, so I would say I’m handling it OK, but there are limits. It’s also hard when I get calls from club members, and realize they just want someone to talk to. We’re the only social interaction some of these guys get.

One question they asked at the new job to introduce the new employees: “What are you going to do when everything opens back up.” To answer is go to the gun club I belong to and shoot the shit out of the steel targets.” But you never know how people are going to react to that answer, so I had to come up with something else quick. Governor Wolf announced construction can continue May 1st, so we’re hoping we can resume that project and have everything open when we reopen. It would be nice. But when can we reopen? Who knows at this point, and dues are coming up. I’m really hoping it’s not a blood bath of non-renewals, because we just finished climbing out of our last deep membership hole. Now we have a whole new one.

All I’m Going to Say About COVID-19

Boy the COVID pandemic sure makes me want to go colonize Mars. Between the dripping condescension over people who make different risk/benefit calculations and conclude reopeners only want to kill grandma and the “But muh rights!” crowd, get me off, please.

I’m very pro-individual rights, but the government has long had considerable power to halt the spread of communicable disease during active epidemics. All this has happened before: business closures, travel restrictions, mask mandates, etc. Fines for spitting in public were particularly severe during the 1918 Spanish Flu. I don’t think the current lockdown is sustainable economically, but for opening back up to not cause a second wave of infections, everyone’s going to have to make some sacrifices for the common good. This doesn’t mean we haven’t seen government acting like petty tyrants. When they exercise power for power’s sake, unrelated to stopping disease, the courts and people should punish them harshly.

But if the state mandates masks in an area with active outbreak, what’s it to you? Anywhere from 20%-50% of infected people are asymptomatic. That means you can’t just quarantine the sick, because we don’t know who the sick are. There aren’t enough tests to sustain the level of testing needed to sort that out. The mask isn’t to protect you so much as it’s to protect everyone else from your crud in case you’re one of those asymptomatic carriers. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. It just needs to make the virus successful at transmitting less often.

By the same token, we can’t keep everyone locked down for many more months, and a lot of places just aren’t all that affected by the pandemic. A lot of the people pushing for extended lockdown are financially well off and can afford it. It looks very different to people who aren’t, or who are facing failure of their businesses. Why wouldn’t you expect they’d make a different risk assessment? There’s only so much money you can print and borrow, and our political system will extract a heavy price in graft to keep those checks coming. There aren’t any good choices here, so why lecture people who make a different bad choice and accuse them of wanting to murder people? Not helpful.

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