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If numbers keep rising will caution matter?

We have, in general, given the benefit of the doubt to those who are siding with caution in the battle against COVID-19. Health experts and political leaders, such as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, are doing the best they can to help us weather the storm. We believe they are acting with sincerity and concern.

But it is difficult sometimes to absorb the view of the devastation that anti-COVID measures have had on the rest of life. Especially as the same experts who urge caution have said that for most people the virus causes only mild symptoms that run their course and are done.

In a similar vein, we keep hearing about how precautions are only necessary until there is a vaccine. Yet such a breakthrough may or may not materialize. Even if it does, it may not be readily available until spring or summer of 2021. How much economic ruination will occur in the meantime? How many businesses and jobs will be lost forever? How many lives ruined?

People may argue that saving lives right now in the fight against COVID is what matters most. But this triage could devastate many lives for years to come. It will lead to depression, drug and alcohol abuse, suicides and other devastating outcomes, such as undiagnosed diseases from missed medical visits.

We noticed a recent statistic of 5 million known cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with an estimate that the actual number is 10 times as high. That means 50 million people — of a population of 330 million — already have faced the virus. How long until the number is 100 million? 200 million? Everyone? And when that happens, will “precautions” even matter anymore? Will they end?

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