Are We Missing the Point?

Are We Missing The Point?

Stay home. I’m sure you’ve heard it by now even if it hasn’t been implemented in your native state. Statewide shelter-in-place acts have been ordered in Oregon, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, California, Louisiana, Delaware, Ohio, and New York. New York prefers to call their stay-at-home mandate the “PAUSE” plan and Ohio has added exemptions as have many of the other previously mentioned states, but the point should have been made clear by now.

As Oregonians, and specifically as a Portlander, I’ve noticed that the break in monotony has provided desperately needed R&R for working people throughout the city. Pair excess leisure time with the best week of weather that Portland has seen in months and you have a formula for what many view as a vacation. The past week has been a showcase of Portlanders heading to the coast for some beach-time, swarming the parks to sunbathe, and grouping together to social distance with company.

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Granted, I don’t have official statistics on the age demographic of those who are leading the charge, but if I had to make an assumption, I’d assume it’s the under-35-year-olds who make up the majority of that group.

That’s when we have to remember that we aren’t on a vacation. We are being asked mandated to stay home by the state government in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have been laid off (temporarily or permanently) from our primary sources of income because constant human interaction (within 6-10 feet) is too large of a risk to our health. But let’s be real here, those who we need to be worried about the most are our older population.

This map, courtesy of the New York Times, shows the known locations of coronavirus cases by county. Circles are sized by the number of people there who have tested positive, which may vary from where they contracted the illness.

According to the World Health Organization, “People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.” Older people, meaning 65 years of age or older, represented 31% of the cases of COVID-19, they accounted for 45% of hospitalizations, 53% of ICU admissions, and 80% of deaths in America, the CDC reported. Although the younger population hasn’t shown to be the most at risk, we should all still take precaution to help those with comprised immune systems or who are at high-risk.

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So, are we missing the point? Are we desperately seeking methods to alleviate our boredom rather than mustering up the discipline to stay home and live with not only our family or significant others, but ourselves? At times, ourself can be the most difficult person to live with. We have been conditioned to constantly be on the move. Monday through Friday we should be working at least eight hours a day, and if you’re ambitious (or have no other choice) you’re probably working six-days a week. You come home and spend time with your family (in whatever capacity that may be) for a few hours, maybe spend an hour to yourself with your own hobbies, then go to sleep and repeat the process the next day.

The “on-the-go” lifestyle leaves very little time for reflection and self-exploration. We think we know so much about the world, but we barely even know ourselves. This is why I think we need to shift the focus from alleviating our boredom to focusing on why we are bored in the first place. If you can’t entertain yourself it may be time to think about why that is. Are you the person you strive to be? Are you happy in your current lifestyle? Or do you group with others in an attempt to seek validation? I believe that these are all fair questions that we should ask ourselves from time to time. I can’t answer these questions for you, but it’s food for thought.

Who would have figured that spending quality time with yourself and your immediate family would help slow the spread or “flatten the curve” of the virus that has managed to stand the world still? We can help protect our most vulnerable population by doing very little, which is an oxymoron in itself.

Yes, rent is due on April 1st. Many of us who live check-to-check are in very uncomfortable positions right now. It’s not as much as we would like, but Oregon governor Kate Brown has issued at minimum a 90-day eviction moratorium that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for the inability to pay rent. We should still continue the push for a #PDXRentFreeze which is a petition with over 38,000 signatures on it currently. You can contribute by electronically signing the petition to seek a rent freeze during this unprecedented time.

Photo is courtesy of change.org/pdxrentfreeze

This is the point – stay home and save a life, it could end up being your own.

Let’s use the most powerful tool currently known to man (the internet) to continue fostering a community allowing us to support each other with both resources and communication.

Stay safe, everyone.


Thanks for reading. If you’re looking for content to pass the time at home, tune into the Portland Free Thinkers Club Podcast on YouTube.

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