Quarantine me!


Don’t get me wrong, I am not infected with Covid 19. I am also very careful even though I have not altered my lifestyle very much. However, when the country emerges from this pandemic, I want there to be a society and a community to go back to. Civilization and social structure are very fragile. So is our economy and our economy support the civilization and social structure.

The “Stay-At-Home Orders” will have their effect on our economy, our community and our civilization for a long time to come. We cannot go on like this very much longer. My wife and I are retired. We have money deposited into our bank account every month whether we need it or not. While our investments have taken a pretty big hit, we have never relied upon our investments to pay our living expenses. In other words, we can afford to stay at home and to be quarantined. Just let us out every so often to get food, necessities like light bulbs, toilet paper and paper towels and we will be happy. Perhaps not as happy as we would be traveling the world, but we will be happy. We will get by.

Last week I ventured out to have some work done on my car. I dropped the car off at the tire shop and walked home. I was struck by how eerie and quiet things were particularly on the walk home. I was able to cross several busy streets against the signal lights with impunity. The tire shop was operating with a skeleton crew. The owner of the shop has not, to my knowledge, laid anybody off but hours most certainly have been reduced. I know how tight profit margins are for local businesses. Losing out on two or three weeks of work for that shop will mean that the books will show little profit or gain for the year. At some point people will lose jobs. This may mean that vacations are canceled, weddings are postponed or canceled and a remodel to the house or perhaps a new house is put on the back burner or canceled altogether. Then it will start to affect the ability to afford the necessities of life.

While we may not have reached this stage yet, it won’t be long before we do. (Certainly we will before the anticipated Stay At Home Orders are lifted.) The things I have mentioned are perhaps things that we can do without. But there is a rippling effect and that rippling effect will ultimately be felt by all of us. Ultimately that rippling effect may affect the very underpinnings of our society and our culture. Western culture is resilient, but not invincible. In the Middle Ages there were walls around cities. These walls kept out intruders and contagion. We have already begun building nonphysical barriers against other nations and against one another. How long will we be able to continue to read the uplifting stories of neighbor helping neighbor?

So quarantine me, because as a retired 65-year-old I know that statistically I am in a high risk category. I do not believe that I will catch this virus. But I know that people in my category will. Many of those will likely require emergency room hospitalization and will drain the precious resources of our city, state and country.

Without work and economic activity, we cannot expect to go on indefinitely. The current spending of our government seems to be based upon the economic theory that underpinned Weimar Germany after the first world war. Things did not work out well for post World War I Germany and there is no reason to believe that things will work out better for us. So please, quarantine me and get back to work!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Amen!!

  2. There seems to be a great weakness in people to control their actions, emotions and thoughts. When the gravity of the problem is large as covid19 is, please don’t act as indifferently as you always do. Fun travel – fools. Missionary group hugs – stupid is as stupid does – in perpetuity. I would be charging triple for those rides.

  3. Please be safe, the life you save might be your own
    Apr 5, 2020, 11:48 am

    Idaho is on course to have one of the tallest sharpest peaks in the country. As for BVT why do you ‘believe’ you won’t catch it? I’m curious because it is a common ignorant belief here in Boise. The virus does not care what you believe. By exposing yourself at this time you may find something as simple as supplemental oxygen is in short supply when you need it in a couple weeks. Will you feel bad if the EMT you cough on dies from it? People in full PPE are still catching this. Certainly you are not being as careful as they are when taking a car to the tire shop.

    What is happening right now is an attempt at a short sharp period of social distancing to reduce the shock to the healthcare system. Don’t be fooled by all that advertising from our two local healthcare monopolies. America actually has a very low hospital capacity. Lower than Italy. You’ll know things are going badly when you see refrigerated semi trailers outside the hospitals. Please be safe, the life you save might be your own. Social distancing if done correctly can reduce the peak cases by a factor of perhaps 10X. Yes, the overall number of cases will be substantial but the death rate far lower. Italy, Spain, New York are great showcases of failing to lower the peak.

    Germany post WW-I was on the skids because they spent every dime on the war, then were harshly punished for bad behavior by the TOV. The great depression a decade later made it all so much worse. This combination of bad/bad resulted in WW-II. The Marshal Plan was nearly the opposite of the Treaty of Versailles, resulting in the long period of economic stability since WW-II. Post WW-II Europe and Japan are actually American success stories. Our money and our ideals. Post WW-I Germany was not the economic center of the world either. No doubt this event has economic catastrophe for America as one of it’s possible courses, but Germany at that time was intentionally plunged into their catastrophe by angry neighbors. Are we vulnerable to China taking advantage to make our economic issues worse? You bet, but much to their own peril because we are their source on income. If America fails, the world fails. We are not the equivalent of 1919 Germany.

  4. Passenger or Spectator
    Apr 5, 2020, 1:41 pm

    Don’t be so sure about your guaranteed money deposited into your bank accounts. Because like it or not, the federal government has the power to change any and all things. One of the places money could come from to pay for this mess is public and private pension and entitlement programs. Not even IRAs are safe. As a spectator to the train wreck, you are far less financially insulated from this than you think. You are on the train like it or not, just one of the last cars to the pileup. Let’s all hope for the best possible outcome. I’d hate to have a new wave of FDR style emergency economic reforms.

  5. Bill von Tagen
    Apr 5, 2020, 3:08 pm

    Good afternoon “Please be Safe”
    In no way do I wish to imply that I believe that I am immune from this contagion. I only believe that I will not catch it because of the precautions I am taking. I do not believe that walking through downtown Boise puts me at high risk for catching the disease. I do think, however, that waiting in a crowded line outside of Costco would put me at risk. The precautions I take are much the same that I take for the flu. I wash my hands regularly and vigorously. I refrain from touching my face. I believe that this will probably be adequate to protect me. At no point on my walk back from downtown Boise did I come within 15 feet of another individual.

    On April 26, 21 days from now Idaho will be at the peak of this crisis. On that day the University of Washington projects that we will have 21 deaths in Idaho. I did not see a projection for Boise. I don’t want to belittle these deaths, but we must also consider how many deaths will take place if we ruin the economy. This is not a choice of jobs or money versus lives. A collapsed economy will also bring increased suicides, domestic violence, as well as drug and alcohol abuse. I guess we are in a situation where we get to “choose our poison”. I realize and understand the seriousness of what is confronting us in terms of the negative effects of this pandemic. But I also realize the cost and the negative effects of shutting the economy down. It will also cost lives and it will bring about much pain. Pain in terms of failed businesses, foreclosed homes, and evictions from apartments.

    I am simply trying to make the point that a more focused quarantine would get us through the worst of this without some of the worst effects of a general quarantine such as we are currently living under.

    Regarding the situation with Germany after World War I, I realize the ruinous effects of the War on Germany. I also understand the huge reparations that Germany faced. But the finance minister for Germany was regarded as a financial genius for the plan that he came up with to pay Germany’s war debt. He was lauded in both Germany and in Europe as a whole. It is only in hindsight that the foolishness of his policy is seen. I hope that the foolishness of the present policy of spending more than $2 trillion will not be something that we look at in hindsight and condemn. The time to consider what we are doing is right now.

    Please do not be angry with me, I am as sincere in my belief of what is best for the community as you are with the points you make.

  6. Passenger or Spectator
    Apr 5, 2020, 4:51 pm

    Those projections are based on ideal social behavior to minimize the number infected. Clearly we do not have ideal adherence to the concept. I’ve notice many in government, many business owners, many pro business support groups, and many individuals are not ideally adhering. I pray the projections are right because I don’t believe they are. We will all know in a few weeks.

    Something not yet on the radar is the second and third waves before we achieve herd immunity. It’s most unfortunate the first indications of a problem were ignored for at least 6 weeks. Economy is after all more important that lives of the peasants to most leaders. Those in leadership are still not quite understanding the concept of viral multiplication and multiple waves.

    Not like the flu, better precautions needed. Evidence shows it’s a lot easier to catch than seasonal influenza. The good news is we will likely have a vaccine and perhaps a treatment with all the pressure on now. They planned a vaccine and treatment for SARS but when the epidemic burned out the governments turned their attention to growth and buying weapons again.

  7. Right.

  8. CLEARLY an opinion and not news.
    “I am as sincere in my BELIEF of what is best for the community”

    Being sincere is NOT the same as being correct. You know, based on science.

    Weird the prose is in the future context, “At some point people will lose jobs”— wake up Bill! You must have written this in January.

    Boris Johnson had the same model of go for herd immunity– Boris is in the hospital today. Dying is tough way to be proven you’re wrong.

    Sweden (vonTagen?) is using the BvT model.
    Let’s watch how well it works out for them.

    Here are some more BELIEFS and theories.
    Jan. 22 “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

    Feb. 10 “Looks like by APRIL, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

    It’s a miracle!
    It’s April, Covid is gone and Bill is still alive.
    Life is wonderful (unless you’re still imprisoned in a retirement home).

  9. Concerned Neighbor
    Apr 5, 2020, 9:21 pm

    I’ve been running statistics on the coronavirus since early January (I read a lot of international news so caught on early).

    An R0 infection rate of 3.3 (vs 1.2 for flu) means that corona will continue until we achieve herd immunity, around 70% of population. It is likely that 200m people in the USA will get this before a vaccine is developed. Summer won’t stop it – the virus is spreading just fine in the southern hemisphere. It’s not going away… the first wave will likely plateau in 7 weeks, people will relax over a couple months, then a larger wave will likely hit (study 1918).

    Economics of quarantine are severe. The recent federal spending included $1.5t that won’t be paid back. Given that the median lifetime earnings is $1.5m, that spending is the equivalent of 1m lives. Is it worth it?

    To balance a health and economic viewpoint, infections will continue but we should keep it in line with what hospitals can handle. Best medicine can keep the terminal rate to 1%, but when hospitals get overrun then it quickly climbs to the 2.3% rate or higher. Furthermore, there are 70 medications that have theoretical applications during infection and each day they are proven (or disproven) to work in the real world.

    Do the math.

    Summary: keep the economy going right up to the point of not quite overloading hospitals. Flatten the curve.

  10. Real Virus, Fake Response.
    Apr 5, 2020, 9:52 pm

    “…The establishment NEEDS the pandemic to spread, because then they have a rationale for strict controls of pubic activities and movements.

    This is the end goal.

    They have no care whatsoever for public health or safety.

    The end game is to acquire power, not save lives.

    In fact, they might prefer a higher death count in the beginning as this would motivate the public to beg for more restrictions in the name of security…”

  11. Night Trader
    Apr 6, 2020, 1:54 am

    I have but one question…What the he__ is this fascination with toilet paper all about?? Or did some fool stampede the herd??

  12. Night Trader: Seems obvious that there was no home stockpile. People must have been relying on the workplace. Maybe take home a roll occasionally for home use. Not going to work created a serious deficit. I am surprised there has not been a run on tinfoil for hat making.

  13. Eamonn Harter
    Apr 6, 2020, 3:22 pm

    To all the realtors and mortgage brokers out there worried about the popping of the housing bubble, this song goes out to you:

    Sha na na na – sha na na na na
    Sha na na na – sha na na na na
    Sha na na na – sha na na na na
    Sha na na na – sha na na na na
    Dip dip dip dip dip dip dip dip
    Mum mum mum mum mum mum
    Get a job
    Sha na na na – sha na na na na

    Every morning about this time
    She gets me out of my bed a-crying
    Get a job

    After breakfast every day
    She throws the want ads right my way
    And never fails to say
    Get a job

  14. western guy
    Apr 7, 2020, 9:17 am

    Toilet paper from work is usually 1-ply and chaps your a$$. Man up and keep a supply of Charmin at home.

  15. This virus is going to be with us for a long time. Where is a plan to logistically deal with it. While some businesses are starting to figure out ways to operated and increase their employees and customers safely (e.g. Walmart, Whole foods) the government is not planning for the future. The economy may be able to slowly start up if there is a plan in place to limit the virus spread.

    At present, the only way to avoid the virus is to limit contact with an infected person. So, why not accept that fact and figure out some work arounds?

    Don’t expect a vaccine to save us any time soon, if ever. Corona type of Viruses very problematic to create vaccines for – there has never been a vaccine for the common cold and Sars-Cov-02 is a Corona type of virus like cold virus. Once again, no one has created a vaccine to protect us from a cold virus. A vaccine might not be coming at all.

    IMO we are currently in the land of the F$&ked! Many things could be done in addition to social distancing to get business up and running but there s no plan as of yet.

  16. Original Materials
    Apr 8, 2020, 12:50 pm

    This blog is two days ahead of the local TV media. An informative post on The Guardian is put forth as original material by the TV actors.

    I don’t mind because it’s doing the community good. However, they should at least credit the seeds of their stories.

  17. In actual news- A gathering of Idaho idiots makes international news, again:

    This should be a real test for Governor Little!

    Just because you HAVE the right to gather for Easter, doesn’t mean you should use that right.

    But gather if you choose. Knock yourselves out. Just don’t demand medical services when you all become sick.

    “Sorry, I can see by your bumper sticker, you are not allowed into the E.R.”
    Live in individual liberty, die in individual liberty.

    Cuz, you know in a group of many idiots, there will be several of them already afflicted– all cheering and yelling and expelling tiny virions into the air of others breathing it in while drinking more Kool-Aid.
    Sounds great! Darwinism at work. Unfortunately, Guilt by Association is also a universal law.

    So, then they go back to 2C, Gem County, Boise County, etc along with the few readers here in support of the idea to spread the contamination to others– think of those ill people being denied services. Or more likely, think of the tiny Emmett, Walter Knox Clinic getting overwhelmed by local cases. Garden Valley? Idaho City?

  18. Easterner; How far would you like to carry your crass judgementalism. “You didn’t wear your helmet, no trauma treatment for you”. “You didn’t use your seat belt, no bone repair for you”. “You ate too much ice cream, no cardiac treatment”. “That was more pills than prescribed, the addiction is your’s to bare”. Perhaps the greater long term benefit to society will prove to be exposure and antibody immunity. I am not convinced that hiding under the bed in your “woke” neighborhood is the only answer. If you are so concerned about the gathering, just stay away. I doubt you will be missed.

  19. Inheritance?
    Apr 9, 2020, 9:27 pm

    Iduno Eastie, I actually think the true motive of some of the youngers is in hopes of inheritance from the elders. I suggest older folks with embarrassing high debt booger picking moron children and grandchildren change their will until this is over with.

  20. Seatbelts. Helmets. Stay at home.
    We live in a civilized society. Civil disobedience still has consequences.

    Not using safety precautions like helmets, seat belts, and STAY-AT-HOME behavior DOES in fact raise costs to our society.
    And THAT is why we as a society pass LAWS to reduce the risk and the higher costs for everyone, right? It’s not a 100% guarantee, but it makes sense.
    Over the long-term, sure immunity will mitigate the problem. In the meantime, be a team player, don’t go to church and help flatten the curve. Because, apparently our medical system can’t handle so many selfish people all at once. Same goes for our toilet paper mills.

    And yes, there is a significant portion of the population with the “too bad, no benefit for you” attitude.
    The real “crass judgmentalism” starts against the homeless, addicts, welfare recipients, and anyone ‘different’. “It’s their fault.”
    Remember the conservative response to AIDS? “they’re gay. it’s their fault. too bad.” It wasn’t until heterosexual people started getting HIV, that anything was done about it. Thanks Jerry Falwell and P. Reagan?

    “It must be their fault! No benefits/no treatment/no research for you. It’s God’s will. too bad.”
    Got Covid 19 and can’t breathe Bundy? Who’s fault is that?

  21. Foothills Rider
    Apr 10, 2020, 9:02 pm

    Thank you for spelling “judmentalism” most preferred way. Shows an education level lacking in many responses.

    We can certainly all hold different beliefs. The Constitutionalists might say “screw that” to self distancing. Why make this issue (Covid) your bully pulpit? Pick a different platform.

  22. Easterner: I’m confused. How can you be so righteous with your examples of the attitudes of others when you are the one who said “die in individual liberty” because of your bumper sticker?


Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: