From the Virus Zone

by Milan Vodicka, Ph.D.

We are all in the virus zone. The whole world is. Yet, perhaps not everyone. Oh yes, there is a “mind world” of beliefs and “alternative facts.”

There are many positive, health supporting and life promoting aspects in the virus zone. People do their best, they marshal all available resources, and – most importantly – care for each other. Nonetheless, there is a shadow side, not to be neglected. Not to be neglected because it has a causal relationship to the ultimate outcome of this virus induced predicament.
These shadows are ignorance and stupidity.

Let me provide a lead-in, by two actual stories. One, the man purchasing some forty or more packages of napkins (San Francisco area) was asked by my friend why is he buying so many. His answer: “I was in the other store and they had none there.” Two (source Facebook), a person defying common sense: “I can do whatever I want, this is America.”

When faced with potentially tragic circumstances, such as a cancer diagnosis or another serious illness, many people say “unless life is at stake, it does not matter.” Here, today and for all of us, the life is at stake. Maybe not ours, but life is at stake. What matters is not to be stupid or ignorant about it.

What is ignorance or stupidity? What is the difference? We can Google this. I quote: “Ignorance simply implies lack of awareness of something. Stupidity denotes the inability of a person to understand something due to insufficient intelligence, thus leading to a misinterpretation of a fact.”

How do they show up? Witness words of one of my colleagues, “We are ordered to house imprisonment – what for?” Prevention is the answer, my friend! Keep this in mind when discussing the healthcare system. Prevention and expertise are two concepts worth paying attention to.

When teaching about expertise, the story I shared was this: A lay person comes to the car expert mechanic and complains, “My car is making strange noises.” The mechanic takes a screwdriver, places one end on the running engine, the other end to his ear and says, “You have a leaking gasket on cylinder number four.”

It should be obvious that expertise, in this virus zone, is a matter of life and death, literally. Yet, some people know better. They “know.” Actually, they just think they know. They ignore the expertise. Should I note ignoring science, as a category of expertise? Ignoring medicine, for dealing with diseases, including virus infections?

So, would you like to have a heart surgeon who is just any person, perhaps your shipping clerk neighbor? Would you like the President of the United States as someone “I can share a beer with?”

Governance, just like medicine or engineering, is a job requiring expertise. Qualifications to be able to do what is required. Not everyone can be Einstein. Not everyone is suitable for holding office or title of responsibility when the job requires dealing with matters of life and death. Please remember this when deciding which candidate for public office you will support.

When working in engineering and manufacturing departments, I learned and had to deal with finding potential, not yet manifested, defects. The method to do that involves inducing stress on the tested component or system. “When you lower the water level in the river, boulders will show.”

In that manner, the COVID-19 virus appearance placed stress conditions upon everyone, personally and systems-wide. The government and healthcare systems in particular. The deficiencies, boulders, are showing up. The virus does not discriminate based on race, gender, wealth, political party, affiliations, social standings, country of origin – and yes, the age. It does not differentiate whether one’s health is insured or not.

It is known – or it should be known – that three necessities of life are crucial in crises like this one. Shelter, food, and healthcare. Each one of those constitutes a system – its components and relationships. Unlike the forest fires, depriving of shelter, or food shortages (perhaps caused by hoarding), here and now the critical part is healthcare. The boulders are showing: Aside from other shortcomings, twenty-seven million uninsured! Our and their health, even life, is at risk!

Therefore, Laws of Insurance: 1/ Share the risk, equally; 2/ the larger the pool of insured, the smaller is the risk of any participant in that pool. They express mathematics-based expertise, pure and simple. The imperative of national health insurance, with everyone’s participations, should be evident.

I wish good health to everyone! Thanks for kindness and solidarity at these times.

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