Boomer Opinion: What should we have learned?

The coronavirus crisis hasn’t just been about surviving today; it’s been about learning for tomorrow. That’s what communications specialist Larry Checco writes about in this Boomer Opinion piece from Silver Spring, Maryland: we live, if we learn.

Some people live and learn, others just live.

And if we refuse to learn from this novel coronavirus, many more of us— especially we high-at-risk baby boomers— will end up dying from it.

What should we have learned?

We should have learned that social distancing and staying at home are the best defenses we have to stem the spread of this deadly virus.

Yet, thousands of people recently were crowded together, demonstrating in state capitals across the nation to oppose their governors’ stay-at-home orders, demanding that governments reopen businesses and give them back their “freedom.”

Anti-stay-at-home protesters in Michigan claim their rights are being trampled on.

We should have learned that face masks are another effective way to retard the spread of the virus.

Instead people have been quoted as saying that being forced to wear a mask is “un-American,” or that they feel they’re being “treated like lab rats.” Easy to understand when our own president refuses to wear a mask, but hard to swallow, literally, if you come down with the virus.

We should have learned that widespread testing and a reliable vaccine, let alone a cure, are the only ways we might resolve getting back to some semblance of normalcy.

Yet there are those who believe the coronavirus has been a “hoax,” and that the pandemic has been overplayed by many of our leaders, infectious disease experts, and the media.

Larry’s wife Laurie doesn’t leave home without it.

We should have learned that even our religious faith can’t shield us from this disease, regardless of how high up you may be in the hierarchy.

The Church of God in Christ, for example, reports that Covid-19 has killed up to 30 of its bishops and prominent clergy, while religious leaders like Jerry Falwell Jr. refused to close their schools and churches as the virus continued to infect their students, staff, and worshippers.

We should have learned that truthful, consistent, unified, and coordinated messaging from our political leaders are essential if, as a nation, we are to continue to combat this virulent disease in an expeditious and timely manner.

Good luck with that one.

I could go on. But the greatest lesson we should have learned is that this deadly virus is insidious. That means it still can be passed on by people who are asymptomatic, who manifest absolutely no symptoms, yet put everyone they come in contact with at risk for the virus.

Consider this: Your right to freely go about your business stops when you place others in grave danger.

This virus is nothing to fool with.

It has already taken the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, with more still to follow. Several people who are less than two degrees of separation from my wife and me, including a relative and an old high school friend, have died from it.

The good news is that most Americans have learned some of these lessons.

A Pew Research poll in mid-April found that three-quarters of U.S. adults said the worst of this pandemic was yet to come, and two-thirds were worried that restrictions would be lifted too soon.

How we personally respond to this national emergency is truly a choice between what some call “freedom” and others undoubtedly experience as “death.”

Think about it.


  1. I am literally flabbergasted! Here in Europe, nobody doubts the lethality of COVID-19 or the usefulness of social distancing, masks, and gloves included. Of course, we started into the pandemic earlier than you (the U.S. is about 2 weeks behind us here, in Italy where I live) so we’ve accumulated many more deaths, alas, than you have so far (taking the overall numbers for Europe, and not just country by country).

    But I’m afraid you’re going to catch up with us soon, and the disaster will be just as big on either side of the Atlantic. At that point, perhaps, those Americans who believe the disease is a hoax and that social distancing is unconstitutional and un-American may be forced to change their mind! It they don’t, well, I won’t say here what I think of their IQ level…

    1. Thanks for your foreboding comment, Claude.

      I said it before and I’ll say it again: There’s no vaccine to ward off stupidity or poor leadership. And I’m afraid that right now we’re stuck with both.

  2. Unfortunately, Larry, too many of our citizens their responsibilities as human beings with their supposed rights as Americans. I heartily agree that our horrible example of leadership has only contributed, if not caused, this predicament.

    1. Freedom and responsibility are hard bedfellows to reconcile, Lucy. They mean different things to different folks. That’s what makes our democracy so fragile and precarious– but also so wonderful if we can get them in alignment. It’s never been easy, but given our current leadership it’s nigh impossible.

  3. Unfortunately, we don’t have the leadership in this country to ward off the covid 19 and I am very much afraid we are bound to repeat history (the Spanish flu (kansas-usa)of 1918). The second wave was worst.Lessons learned are that we sentients almost always makes the same mistakes.

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