Governor Bullock of Montana said yesterday that he would enact Phase One of the reopening the economy and lifting the COVID-19 restrictions. That includes the opening of retail stores (mostly local businesses), lifting the Shelter-in-Place order except for people who are sick or compromised, and allowing restuarants and hair salons to reopen at half capacity. Social distancing measures are still in place and wearing masks is recommended as we see how this plays out. Gatherings must be limited to 10 people or less and gyms are not going to be allowed to reopen until Phase Two. We may very well not see Phase Two for awhile, I suspect, because I know that lifting these restrictions right now is going to lead in a huge spike in COVID-19 cases. I am not saying that they should not do it, though. We need to restart our economy, and the sooner the better. Coronavirus is something we are going to have to live with for the foreseeable future. There is no way around this but through it, so let’s get this party started, so to speak. I do not mean to sound light-hearted about such a serious matter, however I do want people to deal with the reality of the situation. That reality is that COVID-19 is something that we are going to have to deal with just like we deal with influenza on an ongoing basis. It is not going to magically disappear short of a miracle and, though I do believe in miracles, I also believe that we need to change our ways. That is a topic for another time, though. I am not here to preach today. The fantasy that COVID-19 is something that is a once-and-done affair should be debunked at every opportunity that comes up. That is not what is going on, here, folks. Regardless of what we may wish, think, or want, the fact is that COVID-19 is here to stay. Though it will likely become less virulent as time goes on, it is still going to be around, people are still going to get a range of cases from asymptomatic to severe from it, and some are not going to make it out of the ordeal alive. Those are facts of life.
Think of it like a wildfire. We humans do controlled burns to try to keep nature’s fury at bay and manage the forests for the planet. What happens despite our best efforts, though? Mother Nature takes care of her own business and wildfires sweep across large swaths of land, appearing to leave nothing but destruction in her wake. Lo and behold, though, after the fires are finished burning, new trees have the nutrients they need to grow, and grow they do. New life sprouts up everywhere in the burn zone. Another cycle of life has occurred. These plagues happen to humans about every 100 years or so. They can last many years as well. Pandemics happen. Look at history. Look at our population. Look at our illnesses and our poverty and our overcrowding on this planet. Mother Nature took matters into her own hands. I know that we as human beings are valued much more than trees, beetles, ground cover, tumbleweeds, sagebrush, and such, however the analogy is the same. You have an aging, crowded, diseased, dying forest out there. Eventually, everything dies… We are seeing a cycle being completed here and now. It is not glorious. It is not pretty. It is not pleasant. No. It is brutal. It is indiscriminate. It is ugly. However, it seems necessary in the natural order of things if you step away and look at the big picture for a moment. I am not devaluing human life, here. I am simply saying that there is a process going on here that has tended to repeat itself throughout history. These are historic times. All we can do is the best we can and let nature take its course. We will survive.