This is going to take longer than we think, and that’s ok

[Skip this if you don’t like bad news. I don’t enjoy saying this one bit. And I don’t want this to be true. I’d like things to go back to normal next month. But they are not.]

I believe things will not get back to normal until we have a vaccine.

The various treatments undergoing trials will help, but they are not “cures”. They help reduce the duration and the mortality rate by some percentage. But they don’t reduce the numbers enough to allow us to end social distancing.

We have flattened the curve. But that just means we have pushed the surge further down. We are propping up the dam walls. The minute we ease up, the waves will come crushing through. We have to keep holding up the dam until we have a vaccine. Even gradual easing will result in the numbers surging again. We are talking millions of lives in months if we let go.

We need to do everything we can to ease the stress it creates for all of us. We need to provide a monthly “stipend” to all that empowers everyone to sustain themselves and keeps commerce ticking and for new patterns and behaviors to emerge spontaneously from the bottom up. We need to adapt society to this new reality so that it becomes easier to live through it.

It’s like a meteor about to hit earth. And we are using a tractor beam to delay the hit until we have time to build the lasers to disintegrate it first. We can’t fall for the false sense of safety that the delay creates. We cant turn off the tractor beam.

Think of the movie Independence Day. When aliens attack, we don’t talk about the economy. We figure out how to defeat the enemy. And we all make sacrifices.

Now for the good news. At worse this takes 24 months. Which is really nothing if we can detach from it and see the big picture. And the more quickly we can embrace this possible reality, the easier it will be for us. This is a test for us. Can we demonstrate the human ingenuity and adaptability that has made us one of the most successful species on the planet? Can we help each other get through this?

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