My brother and I played the board game pandemic around Christmas this year. I asked him, “where is the card that lets you just give up and let herd immunity take care of everything?”
He wittily responded, “that’s the Trump card”.
I asked my brother a few days later if I could post this interaction on Facebook where people tend to get mad at me for being political. He thought I already had and I told him that I had posted it on Twitter. I responded that Facebook is where I post positive news, Medium is where I go to say what I would like to say on Facebook, Twitter is where I go to let loose, and Parler is for hate speech, but that’s hopefully going to be closed down soon.
My friend shared a post on Facebook of all of the small businesses that have closed since the pandemic began, she was blaming Governor Whitmer for all of this. Here’s what I would liked to have said to her:
I would want to point out that during the Spanish flu pandemic, the cities and states that maintained social distancing and masking measures for longer periods saw stronger economic comebacks once they were lifted. The areas of the country that “unlocked” too soon saw tepid economic recoveries because they lost more people. The ones that stayed locked down longer took a harder hit in the short term and then bounced back faster and stronger than other areas because once it was gone it was gone and they still had more of their workforce. So the economy will bounce back faster if we focus on stamping out the virus rather than denying it all together and doing nothing. There is no reasonable libertarian response to the virus and our individualistic heritage is killing us.
Second, businesses close all the time. Some work because they treat their customers well, offer high quality goods or services, advertise accordingly, stay up with the times, and invest in their workforce. I went through the very long list of businesses that have failed in Michigan since Whitmer forced them to close down and I saw a pretty familiar theme that these were not good businesses.
I did a Ctrl-F search of all of the businesses in Petoskey, Roscommon, and Traverse City which are the three areas that I know best due to living in them for extended periods of time. In Roscommon, I noticed that a quilt shop had closed down, but when I checked their Facebook page I see that they changed their name. Also, it’s a quilt shop in a very small, economically depressed village in rural Michigan. How profitable was that place anyway? In Petoskey, I noticed that a restaurant called JR’s closed down, but JR’s was not a good restaurant. I had only been there once and I was underwhelmed as the service was bad, food was okay, and the ambiance was nothing special. Finally came Traverse City.
I live in Traverse City right now and it is a great place to live. Nice people, tons of restaurants and coffee shops, access to outdoor activities, and plenty of culture (pre-pandemic). However, when I moved here I had no friends. I spent a lot of time alone and something I did often was go out to eat mostly for the human interaction. I probably went to every good restaurant in town to try all of them to find “my place”. I like being a regular and I am a loyal customer. I recommend my favorite places often, I leave nice reviews online, and I always tip well. Aside from The Franklin, I cannot recall any of the places that failed as one of the restaurants I even tried. The Franklin was a fancy restaurant, but I don’t remember it feeling worth my business. The food and service was good, but not worth the price in my opinion and I will spend a lot of money on good food if I think it’s worth it.
So couldn’t it be that some of these businesses didn’t adapt and were bound going to fail anyway? I have seen 0 of my favorite places close down and it’s probably because they compete better in the marketplace.
Now, let’s get something straight, no one likes pandemic restrictions. I don’t like wearing a mask at all times, people questioning whether they can be near me, dating is more difficult, I have to eat my favorite burger in my car, and I miss hugs. I feel bad for my grandparents, my diabetic cousin, my family reunion was minimized this year, and I can’t travel outside of the country. With that being said, the vaccine is rolling out to more and more people every day and vaccinating all of the high risk people will significantly cut the death rate so there is an end in sight. I would rather maintain certain restrictions now than turn into South Dakota.
The pandemic is not a choose your own adventure novel. You can’t pick a different ending when you don’t like the original, you can’t set the pandemic down and not deal with it, and illiterate people still have to deal with it.