Maybe you saw a couple hundred angry and frightened Americans storming Raleigh on Tuesday morning, demanding that Gov. Roy Cooper “reopen” North Carolina, whatever that means in this post-normal age.
Or maybe you’ve been perusing social media and seen the small but vocal groundswell of people who don’t necessarily believe the coronavirus is a problem.
Or perhaps you’ve been discussing the pandemic with neighbors, business associates, relatives, random people you’ve met in the grocery line or the greenway and discovered that some of them think this whole thing is a bunch of bullshit.
It’s so easy just to grimace behind your facemask, nod your head silently and turn away. But we can’t do that anymore.
If we want to have herd immunity to COVID-19, then we need to start acting like a herd.
This means tending to the most vulnerable among us — the sick and infirm, yes, but also the painfully ignorant.
And they are in a minority. Recent polls show that 58-81 percent of people favor maintaining the stay-at-home strategy against the coronavirus. It seems roughly the same amount of people who passed high school biology.
Shaming them, as we’ve seen, does not work. So instead of getting angry at them for playing it fast and loose with the future of the human race on planet Earth, we must instead bless their hearts and protect them anyway. That’s what a herd does.
Members of a herd also do not hoard essentials in times of crisis. This goes for fields of grain and copious watering holes as well as toilet paper and small-business loan dollars.
Greed and selfishness will not serve us well here.
The global pandemic will be one of the great recurring crises of this century — for surely no one believes this will be the last — and we must alter our societies to adapt to this new problem that affects every last one of us. Last century’s solutions will not work here. In fact, it may have been the old solutions that got us here in the first place, unable to deal with this new threat to our species and not just our way of life.
In the face of a pandemic, we must reassess a lot of our societal systems — healthcare, broadband access and the safety net, to name a few — that have proven inadequate to the cause.