As a brief follow-up to my post yesterday attempting to add perspective to the COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to urge a slightly different sentiment today as it would pertain to other health concerns.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 48,000 Americans died by suicide in 2018. Over 24,000 people under the age of 65 died of complications related to diabetes. Over 45,000 between the ages of 25 and 55 died of heart disease.
Standing by my assertion that the current restrictions on our lives are necessary in order to prevent Coronavirus from causing a public health catastrophe, I would submit that the annual total number of deaths from the causes cited above–over 115,000–represents a catastrophe in its own right. This might warrant fear and media attention on a scale at least as great as what we’ve seen over the past two weeks.
In the name of slowing the spread of COVID-19, our nation and others are making wise and worthy economic sacrifices, the pain of which we will feel keenly for years and which will affect millions of lives to a significant degree.
We may never know how many lives we will save due to our current effort. But as its restrictions offer us time to reflect, perhaps we would do well to consider the human cost of over 100,000 lives per year, largely the result of misaligned, disharmonious patterns of life that are just as pervasive and deadly as any pathogen. We might also ponder the elements in our society who become rich while our humanity and our economy bear the costs of unnecessary loss.
Interestingly, we might discover that we can feasibly minimize the despair that leads thousands of people to take their own lives; we can diminish the internal emptiness that make so many of us indulge ourselves toward slow deaths over decades. The solutions might seem at first like more sacrifices, but truly, they would be investments–with incalculable returns.
6 thoughts on “Should Anything Else Concern Us?”
Thank you for putting this into perspective and shedding light on some other major causes for concern. You’re right, those deserve our time and energy, too.
I applaud your timely comparisons to keep this situation in proper perspective and thwart panic and sensationalism. I believe that a positive and measured outlook is a necessary for a good outcome as is taking care of our physical bodies. You have shifted the spotlight sideways to our complacency about “less urgent” threats to our existence, but ones that are just as dangerous if not more, over the long run. Your line about indulging ourselves toward a slow death really hit home and is right on, but…does this mean no more Ben and Jerry’s?
Haha! With my eating habits, I am not one to preach. I see an American pandemic, however, in the lack of limits we set for ourselves and the lack of concern that arises over fully preventable medical conditions that worsen over time, though we know they are self-inflicted. This has to do with mindset, and it probably warrants its own post.
Maybe this virus is nature’s attempt to slow down a runaway society. Certainly many of us are rethinking what is important in our lives. And that alone, thinking of others, is an act often overshadowed by the busy lives we have had to apply the brakes to. There will be linings of many colors, as you state. Some will profit. Some will ache. But change is inevitable. And human. Thank you for your continued wise thoughts.
Thanks for this. It helps to put it in perspective.
You shed light on so many things that we just take as facts of our society and life style. Guilty as charged! I only hope some things will change after this but I that optimistic.