As the coronavirus epidemic continues to recover, Bloomberg Opinion promises to live a better life in the long run by looking at crisis-inspired innovations – travel for more resilient economies, cleaner cities and healthier offices for less star-studded kits and less unnecessary business.
The pandemic taught people to stay at home when they were sick. It’s a lesson to live by.
Kovid-19 has not been “just a bad flu” since the pandemic began to affect daily life in March 2020. However social distance to slow the spread of the virus has reduced the severity of the seasonal flu.
As far as I know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have complete data on the flu season ending this spring, and was affected by the data epidemic last year. But the year before – the 2018-2019 season – 36 million people were diagnosed with the flu, resulting in nearly half a million hospitals and 34,000 deaths. In the previous year, 810,000 people went to the hospital for the flu and 61,000 died.
However, the harsh American spirit pushed people to suck and work with seasonal illnesses, including the flu. I was one of them. If I do not go to bed, you will see me on the train with a slight fever, cough on the plane, sneezing.
I have defended this in many ways, with small children in day care, if I was at home every time I had a cold, I would never go to work or travel. I also looked around and saw a lot of people doing the same thing. I thought I was following the norm. A few weeks before the lockdowns started, in February 2020, I was reminded for the first time that someone was telling me to go home when I thought I was healthy enough to stay at work.
Now, I’m not so serious. Social norms have changed. If I have a cough and it looks like hell, I hope to go home. If I sneeze on a plane, passengers will notice.
I also got better at working from home like everyone else in my professional community. So the costs of working from home are very low – I can keep up with the full day of zoom meetings from my home study. There is little reason to go to the office when you are sick.
Finally, the risk of spreading the infectious virus is even greater. Kovid-19 may decline, but who wants the flu? And knowing its human number, why would I want to give it to anyone?
Although I examined the statistics on the flu a year ago, I understood them differently. It lived through an epidemic to congratulate me.
Michael R. Strain Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the Director of Economic Policy Studies and holds an Arthur F. in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute. Burns Scholar. He is the author of “The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It)”.