Imagine that you are a single mom who owns a coffee shop. Your kid, who has autism, is bouncing off the walls at home by himself without schools to keep him busy and occupied.. You have to spend all day at the shop even though business is down by 60 percent, because you need every penny to pay your mortgage.
There’s no money coming your way. Just some loans, which won’t help, because loans have to be paid back.
You’ve already had to lay off workers. Others just stopped showing up. So, you’re working double hard for less money. Meanwhile, some lady called the mayor to report that you let your mask drop below your chin for a second to catch a breath of air.
Then imagine you watch the news and see that that the projected numbers of deaths aren’t nearly as high as they told you. Governor Cuomo and Dr. Fauci, neither of whom got your vote, are calling the shots.
Your neighbors all seem pretty happy. Either they have job secured by a union or their job is a computer job that was able to transition to their home without any problems. You get cheerful newsletters from the school district with advice about baking pies and playing board games, when you barely have time to boil pasta at night for you and your kid.
How do you feel? You’re pissed, right?
Protesters in Michigan yesterday are sure that this social distancing, which has already led to 22 million unemployment claims, is politically driven and unrealistic. They’re angry at Democrats and elites and people on the coasts for ruining their lives. Those protests are going to angrier and more partisan.
Meanwhile, I’m reading tweets and commentary from medical and scientific experts who say that we’re looking at another year of social distancing. One tweeted that we’re looking at a decade of this. And that’s without opening the economy the way that Republicans would like. An open economy is going to lead to higher death tolls, which still will take a toll on the economy.
The country is beginning to divide up into regions with groups of Governors making major decisions about the lives and economy of their region. Our country is breaking apart, and at the same time, the President is calling to dissolve Congress and making statements about his absolute power. His rambling, unhinged evening press conferences are a horror show.
Meanwhile, even in relatively safe spaces in the suburbs, people are growing weary of the daily grind of homeschooling, desperate supermarkets, and fear for their parents. Those people aren’t going to stop social distancing, even if Trump says it is okay. They will listen to the governors and news sources and continue to isolate, especially in the hot spot states. Still, daily life is painful and making everyone edgy.
Our economy is not structured to handle messes like this. There are no safety nets. In the next few months, if we don’t see any changes in virus mitigation, we’re either going to see political changes or economic ones. I’m not sure where things will go.