Coronavirus Roulette — The Game of Deciding What’s Safe

What if we make a mistake?

Things are opening back up now, and most of us are left with confusing messages when it comes to guidance that will help us make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. The reopening is chaotic at best and disastrous at worst.

There are dissenting voices on both sides of opening, some saying it’s safe and we should be careful but not worried, others saying it’s too soon and we will be sorry. But regardless of whether it’s safe or not, the doors are swinging wide and we are being let out of our prisons to roam free again. Hooray!

But what if it’s not time? What if it isn’t safe? How the hell are we supposed to know? And why are we being left to decide for ourselves what the risks are? I feel like I have been handed a gun with one bullet in it and I am being asked to decide if it is safe to pull the trigger.

I miss my family excruciatingly, and am hoping to see them again soon, but what if it is the biggest mistake I will ever make? What if I am pulling the trigger with the one bullet in the chamber? There have been stories of families who got together and several members were sickened and some of them died. Is that going to happen if I go see my children and grandchildren? Can anyone tell me what to do?

Why are we being left to make such weighty decisions on our own? And why is there no plan? I do not feel qualified to make these decisions for myself. I feel abandoned by my government, and worse, I feel like I am being told to go out and play with my gun and “Good Luck.”

There are a lot of people who are being cavalier about the whole thing, and in states that are opening wide, like Georgia, there are people walking around acting like it is any old spring day in Georgia and that the coronavirus is just a figment of our imagination.

In South Carolina, which is my state, I saw video on the news of restaurants opening back up and people swarming the outdoor eating areas, sitting on top of each other practically, having a good ol’ time. No face masks. No social distancing. What virus?

There is a part of me that wants to do that, too. One day, after going to the drug store and coming back traumatized because someone was all over me in line and the store employees were not wearing masks, I came home and told my husband I just wanted to go out there and take my chances. This is no way to live.

His eyes widened and he said, “Absolutely NOT! We are going to stay safe and stay well. We are not going to take any unnecessary risks. We want to see our grandchildren grow up!”

I know he is right, but how are we supposed to know what the risks are? Even though restaurants are opening back up, we don’t have to go. I can live with that. But is it okay to have our children come here? Can we safely hug them and our grandchildren? Will our desire to see them be the undoing of us? Is there a way to visit carefully?

What about going back to the pool to swim? I really miss my tri-weekly swims. Is that safe? Can you wear a face mask in a pool?

Wearing face-masks is thought to lower the rate of transmission. But if you aren’t wearing one, it doesn’t matter diddly squat that I am wearing one. And plenty of people are not wearing them, citing their rights. Because we can’t make people wear them, the few of us who are probably aren’t doing any good. It’s too bad we don’t live in a country where people feel that it’s their duty to protect each other. So, because others don’t choose to protect us, does that doom us to staying home for the duration?

And what about those who are asymptomatic carriers? I have seen nothing that tells me how long people can be carriers. Does the virus stay active in asymptomatic carriers for the rest of their lives? Does that mean they can go around spreading the virus from now on? Does anybody even know?

How are we supposed to navigate this? I know the experts are working as hard as they can to understand this virus, but the fact is, what we don’t know is greater than what we do know. We are being asked to make personal choices based on very little information and it feels terrifying.

I want nothing more than for life to go back the way it was. But I am not naïve enough to think that it will, much less that it already has. I guess the next few weeks and months will tell us a little more as we see the results of the opening.

Until then, we are all left to decide for ourselves how much risk we are willing to take. But first we have to decide what the risks actually are. I feel like I have on a blindfold instead of a face mask as I am trying to make those decisions.

I just hope I don’t make one wrong move that will ensure that I do not see my grandchildren grow up. It all just feels like a game of Coronavirus roulette.

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there.

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