Hard questions to ask

On Tuesday the 22nd, a gut-wrenching “get real about life” piece came out on Honolulu Civil Beat asking one simple question, “When And How Does The Pandemic End?”

It’s been a question that I feel we as a society have been avoiding or fooling ourselves to think “oh, it’ll end pretty soon, see the lockdown will end on the 23rd (of September) and we’ll all be okay”. Or “the vaccine will be out in October like President Trump says and we’ll be okay after that”.

So those who think that just because a vaccine will come out or man-made imposed rules on movement will go away soon means things will get back to normal are a bit myopic at this point. And when it comes to the vaccine, reports coming out say that there are several problems with basing your whole hope on it. Everything from the question of whether we will even get a vaccine that works, distribution, and even willingness to get a shot of it all issues that have yet to be answered.

Delicious questions you can eat
Unfortunately, the answers that we need to ask won’t be found on a pop tart, in Google, or even by our government. It’s going to be answered by us as a people.
PC: “Delicious questions you can eat” by Wade Rockett is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

With the Civil Beat article, though, it does provide something of a framework for me to put out these two points – questions really – that we as a society need to truly answer if we are to break the curse of COVID. These are questions that require some thinking, and some examination of one’s gut, to determine what we want to have happened next.

1. For the time being, and we are talking about maybe 2 years here if we all decide that the vaccine is not something that everyone will take, what is society’s choices as to what it will sacrifice? I hate to say it but it runs the gamut from working at an office to having people to your home, picnics with friends, or even celebration of holidays with family.

Are we willing to sacrifice traveling and sticking it out here on the island for the next couple of years? What about seeing family or loved ones outside of Hawaii that are elderly and will pass away without them there? Is that something that we can tolerate for the sake of public health at this time?

2. If we decide that, instead, a vaccine is a way to go, how do we make sure that everyone is on board with it? What plans are there to distribute it fairly and quickly to everyone, and what can we do as a society to be sure that when it does arrive, we are ready to go with telling our friends, family, neighbors, and workmates “eh, get the shot”.

I would suggest that a partial answer to number 2 is to show what is the answer to the first question. Why? Because so far, we have been fooling ourselves to think that the management of this virus will still allow us to do the things that make our lives whole.

The Civil Beat article shows that may not be possible. It is at this point the hard questions need to be asked. We must pray then that we can all speak about this like adults and answer – our society depends on it.