Erik Larson’s “The Splendid and the Vile” is an engrossing saga about Winston Churchill, his family, and his defiance during the German bombing blitz over London in World War II. It reminded me of one of the most cogent quotations of all time: “Never in the field of human endeavor, was so much owed by so many to so few.”
I happen to believe the COVID-19 virus is going to be around for a while. Like polio, the only way to get complete control over it is to get an effective vaccine. We can open up parts of the economy and there are circumstances where this makes sense, but new surges rebounding in parts of the U.S., Europe and China also tell us that we are in for a roller coaster ride unless we stick to good practices and social distancing.
Full disclosure. I have a daughter who is a nurse in Cleveland, and I have a good friend who is a firefighter and EMT in Aurora, Ohio. These people face the daunting prospect of a death sentence every day on the way to work. It may be the understatement of the year to say that they are also anxious for things to get back to normal .
Those who push too hard for things to magically get back to “normal” are the embers that will burn and periodically combust into new flareups. Our nurses, doctors and first-responders are not expendable. Being irresponsible in our pre-vaccine behavior is at the very least disrespectful of these brave professionals and at worst, it is asking them to put their lives at risk over and over again, so that we can enjoy our indulgences.
This virus is a non-partisan microbe. Basic economics tells us that until people are confident that they are safe from the disease, the demand impulse necessary to revive our economy will remain anemic. Good sense tells us that our best life insurance is to make sure that we protect the health and well-being of our health care workers. When the vaccine is in place and the economy fires up again, I’ll be one of the first to advocate for a memorial on the Washington, D.C. mall, celebrating the 2020 heroics of our health care warriors.
Churchill had it right: “Never in the field of human endeavor, was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Bill Sims is a Hillsboro resident, an author, and with his wife runs a small farm in Berrysville. He is a former educator, executive and foundation president.