Risk vs Benefit.
We make those calculations every single day. But from what I’ve read, it does not seem like humans are very good at calculating risk. We are biased by what is featured in the media, by what our friends talk about, and probably by a million other things.
Earlier in the pandemic, I definitely felt like “OMG NO ONE IS DOING ENOUGH!”. It felt like there was a significant slice of people who didn’t think that COVID-19 was really anything. I think 100K deaths have convinced most people that it’s real and has impacted many many lives — of the infected and otherwise.
BUT BUT BUT. Life is not black/white. Nor are choices, or risks. I admit sometimes I fall into that partisan line of thinking, but I do think having some medical background helps with this one. Mostly because I can get a sense of proportion by looking at number of cases in my own backyard. The media can be having a bonanza about Kawasaki-like syndrome, and YES it is sad that any child has been afflicted.
BUT. The numbers. They are relatively low. We have had a low number of Kawasaki-like admissions at our hospital recently. You know what else we’ve had? New cancer diagnoses. Near drownings. Car accidents. But no one is talking about those things.
Every time you get in a car, you take a risk. Every time your kids play in the pool, there is a risk. But we don’t think about these things because they are just accepted as normal. I’m not sure most have done the formal calculation comparing the benefits of children attending school (for example) vs risks of a car accident along the way — yet I don’t think most people worry much about this particular risk.
I’d love a comprehensive calculator that compares COVID-19 related risks to other risks out there – lightning strikes, cancer diagnoses, car crashes, etc. I feel like this is something COVID-explained could come up with, but there may not be enough data yet. Maybe someday, though.
We are not sending the kids to camp this summer, but my reasons are more about a) the logistics of “socially distanced camp” sounding stressful and just . . . a lot and b) I am worried it will be cancelled (or made “virtual”) and I will be out $$$. Also, there are some other annoying things about camp (all 3 wouldn’t be at the same one; drop off/pickup can be frustrating and it’s typically in terrible weather many afternoons; the atmosphere at the one we sent the kids to last year seemed a little chaotic– though the kids did like it).
With all of these factors PLUS the $9K or so we save by not sending 3 kids to camp this summer — well, that is why we are sitting out this year.
But I am fervently hoping that the calculations for school are different. If school opened tomorrow, I would send A&C. (Again, not sure about G because risk/benefit looks different for toddlers. The “benefit” of her school experience to me as a 2.5 year old seems more uncertain. The benefit to my bigger kids is very clear.) SHOULD the school system maintain some virtual learning options for those uncomfortable attending in person? Yes! FL actually has their own “virtual school” that is open to all so maybe that could be an option for those with reasons for avoiding contact (and I absolutely acknowledge there are those out there where risks DO outweigh benefits due to certain medical challenges among family members).
I guess I am also just disappointed with the lack of weight/thinking put into childcare availability in general. It is not something discussed much at work, though the challenges of those of us with children vs without are incredibly different (moreso than under usual circumstances). I suspect Laura is right – it’s because most people in charge of creating policies don’t have to OR want to think about childcare. They are either out of touch or they just think parents (let’s face it, mothers) should all be readily available to “homeschool.” And it is lame.
Okay, off my soapbox for the day.
In other news, my spice drawer is organized.