The Number One

March 31, 2020

I spoke of things being scary… this stuff is scary I probably said a million times.

I spoke of that. Now I am feeling it.

I have been a smart consumer. I reference good sources, I read the commentary and analysis of smart people.

I’m smart. At least smart enough to understand some basics and keep a level head.

I’ve taken this seriously from the beginning. I’ve done what they said to do, because I’m a believer in facts, and science.

If I’ve been cavalier, it’s about feeling like I — and Jim and Peter — am/are squarely in the 80% who will self-resolve. Eighty percent is a good number. And I’ve had no doubt whatsoever, that if we get it, we will fight it off.

We are not high risk, we are fit and healthy, no underlying conditions, as they say.  Of course we could get it, but we won’t die from it. Of that I have been confident.

And perhaps that’s cavalier.

If I’ve been cavalier, it’s when I said, “I’d like to get it so I can develop the antibodies to fight it, so I can go out and know I am not a risk to others, so I can go out and know, at last, that I cannot get it now.”

If I’ve been cavalier, it’s when I thought that I should volunteer myself for one of those studies where they are analyzing the people whose immune systems are so strong that when they are exposed, they formed antibodies and, not just any antibodies, but super duper antibodies that are worthy of harvesting, and study for possible use in fighting this thing. I think a lot of my immune system.

That’s pretty cavalier.

But that’s how positive and confident I’ve felt about the course of this.

I’ve listened to the experts and believed the numbers.

Even if the president* didn’t… but that’s another post.

Everyone talks about numbers. How many will get infected, how many will die, how many died today? How many died in New York, Italy? In China (if they know)? How many ventilators and masks and other PPE do we need? How many months will this go on? How long must we self-isolate?

Things seem different today. The air is more foreboding.

Most of the time, I don’t listen to the president’s* briefings, I don’t have the stomach. I just get tired of screaming at the TV or radio or my laptop.  I do my best to limit myself to reliable sources.

I hear, however, that he was different today. He appeared scared. He seems to have finally taken in what has been going on around him for months. Apparently, now he believes his experts. Sorry I missed seeing that in today’s briefing.

This jacks up the anxiety.

So, I don’t listen to the White House, but I do listen, when I can, to Chris Cuomo. I like him, and trust him. I’m listening to him now, as I compose this post. Chris tested positive for the coronavirus today. His brother Andrew, the Governor of NY, commented on that this morning.

Looking at him, listening to him made the disease less abstract. And while I have every confidence he self-resolves, it’s alarming. I suppose it’s alarming because our senses are so heightened, the news stories so dire about those who get it and don’t self-resolve. Those numbers are frightening. Not because they exist as high percentages, but because the numbers are climbing exponentially, and the deaths are so horrific.

To borrow a concept from Chris’s commentary tonight: the only number that matters is the number “1.” While all the other numbers are horrific and scary and surreal, the only number we should focus on is “1”  — us, ourselves, each of us. And what we can do about all this. Focus on that.

We can take responsibility for ourselves and comply with the guidelines. If everybody just effin does that, we minimize the spread. Period. If we don’t, all the other numbers just go up. If we take that responsibility and stay at home, only 100,000 to 240,000 people die. If we don’t, millions die.

And this is why I feel so sickened and anxious tonight.  We’ve known it. We’ve respected the guidelines. But the president’s* task force today put real numbers on this horror of a  pandemic we’re all living through. The president, who’s been in denial all along, apparently believes it now. Chris Cuomo broadcast his show from his basement and looked like shit. The numbers are going up like rockets at the moment and there is no real end in sight.

So, yeah. Focusing on what I can do. Planning to self isolate the hell out of this thing.