There are two different realities when it comes to the coronavirus, even in our little corner of the world.
There’s the thinking of the 20-somethings, and there’s the thinking of the 80-somethings. They are entirely different, and they seem to be completely disconnected. But then there’s also scientific and mathematic logic, and, well, we’ll get there in a minute.
The logic of the 20-year-old goes like this: The virus is weak sauce, and getting it means that I’ll be done with all the crap that goes along with the pandemic response. My friends who’ve had it hardly felt anything -- maybe they couldn’t taste anything for a couple days, maybe they felt kinda punk for a week. Whatever.
If I’m close to somebody who has it and my test comes back negative, I have to go into lockdown for two weeks. That sucks. I’m better off to actually have a positive test, because then I can come out of quarantine after my symptoms are gone for three days. Plus, once I’ve had it I’m off the hook -- no risk of getting it again.
That’s one logical course of thought, and it’s hard to argue with, partly because 20-year-olds naturally think they’re immortal. It’s worth pointing out that science isn’t entirely sure what the odds are that you can catch the virus twice, but there’s been at least one case of that happening in the world. Stil, the 20-something line of thought at its extreme would lead people to infecting each other on purpose so that the post-infection population could get on with their lives.
On the other end of the spectrum is the logic of the 80-year-olds. As you probably know, six of the eight deaths from the virus in Riley County have been residents of nursing homes. For those residents, infection of anyone near them is a mortal threat. On the one hand, they miss seeing family and friends, but on the other, they don’t want to die or be the cause of somebody dying nearby.
The logic of mathematics tells you that those two worlds are linked in our little community. College kids infecting each other will accidentally infect somebody in line at Chipotle, and that person will pass it on to his cousin at the birthday party, and the cousin lives with the janitor at the nursing home, and...boom.
Has it actually played out that way? We don’t know, because the health department doesn’t disclose that sort of information. But it’s spreading around the community, and the vast majority of cases are in the college age range, and the deaths are in the nursing homes. We’re all human beings inhabiting the same physical space here in our community and the connections are inevitable.