The unprecedented events unfolding over the last week or two have come at a furious pace. The actions taken surrounding the COVID-19 virus are unlike anything seen in over a century.

As a result, there are many questions we could ask here at Intellectual Roundtable. However, we would rather hear from you, our readers.

What are the questions that you and your family are asking? What do you find yourself wondering about? Is there something you want to ask your employer, your town official, your government representative?

What are your questions about the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic?

Related questions: How do we know what we don’t know? Is it a cruel world? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? How can we turn sadness into constructive action? Freedom or security?

3 thoughts on “COVID-19?”

  1. My mind is in a flurry because of COVID-19. Here are just a handful of my questions:

    • Will people finally learn (or even have the economic ability) to take care of themselves when sick — from this virus, but also future contagious sicknesses? Will people stop going to work when they are sick? Will they even be able to economically? Which leads me to …
    • Will the working poor (and poor people in general) matter to elected officials? The recent deal struck in DC leaves out a huge swath of low-income jobs from the protections of sick leave during the time of self-quarantining? But more broadly, the economy is going to tank as a result of all the economic activity that’s not happening now. Will an adequate social safety net be put in place to help the poor who cannot work or who cannot find new jobs (if new jobs will even exist)? Which leads me to …
    • Will small businesses make it? I think the small, corner grocery store will make it. But what about the family-owned restaurant or neighborhood coffeehouse that is currently sitting empty? What will happen to those involved in “the gig economy” when there are not enough gigs for those currently sustaining themselves in this manner?
    • What will happen to people experiencing homelessness? How will those who become sick be taken care of and self-quarantined? How, if at all, will social-distancing happen in overflowing emergency shelters across the country?
    • Are global food supply chains vulnerable? If so, will the general public learn how to involve themselves in local and personal food production, preparation, and preservation?
    • How, if at all, will the need for social-distancing bring us together? Will elected and community leaders regain (or simply gain) the respect that’s needed to help society form new, cooperative ways of operating in a new economy and a new world? Will more people use social media in a way that brings together masses of people in positive, constructive ways?
    • Do people, especially elected leaders, realize contagions like this are going to happen (and happen more frequently) in the future? More pathogens are going to unleashed on the world as a result of climate change and our continued extractive economy. What will we do and/or learn as a result?

    It’s a jumble of questions. But that’s where I am right now.

  2. What a singular time. I’m receiving the onslaught of information but am trying to reserve judgment/questions, except on essential matters like ‘how will I work from home,” because no one has all the answers. Things are changing so rapidly that I feel my job is mostly need to watch. Like Michael, I am quite concerned for small businesses and those that do not have the reserves to “float” for a month or more. The economic ripple effect could be profound. I’m trying to direct my spending to small businesses when possible.

    I’m using the Serenity Prayer to separate the Things I Can Change from the Things I Cannot/Need to Accept. Turning off the news and/or seeking out “distractions” that make me happy are helpful in restoring a bit of balance. Talking with my husband and my mother, walks outside, bird watching, games, reading and music-making and listening are all helpful. I figure I can only help others if I am OK myself.

    I do wonder if this national crisis will help knit us back together as a nation? I’m in Minnesota, where I direct a small (35-voice) community choir. We care deeply about each other, and have built love and connection, despite the fact that we are politically and religiously very different — we just don’t bring those issues to choir. I just cancelled rehearsal for at least the next two weeks, and it’s heartening to see people of many backgrounds respond with caring and support.

  3. I have a few questions.

    1. Why do we assume that medical science noticed COVID-19 shortly at or near the time and place where it made the jump to humans?

    2. Isn’t it equally possible that COVID-19 was in the population for a lengthy period of time, and randomness and natural selection caused an accumulation in Wuhan that was large enough that someone finally noticed it?

    3. Since we generally don’t test people whose deaths are attributed to influenza, isn’t it possible (even likely) that the higher than usual deaths attributed to influenza this year (and even in years past) were caused by COVID-19 all along?

    4. Why do we believe that humans have no natural immunity to COVID-19, when 80% of the people who are infected show no symptoms or very minor infections, and most of the people who die are those who were “vulnerable”? Isn’t that a strong indication of a natural immunity (and supportive of the idea that COVID-19 was in the wild long before anyone noticed it)?

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