Today: Jun 06 , 2020

Opinion: Triage

29 March 2020  

What the country needs is a balance between our physical health, our mental health and our economic health.

Triage is usually used as a medical term in incidences where there are mass casualties. It is a process that is used where medical professionals are far outnumbered by the sick or injured. Doctors, nurses, and paramedics occasionally have the burdensome task of deciding which patients have the best chance of survival with immediate medical attention, which patients will most probably survive regardless of immediate medical attention and which patients have no chance of survival no matter what medical attention is given. It is the only way in some situations to marshal limited medical resources to their most efficient use. 

With the World Health Organization declaring the Chinese Corona virus a pandemic and our country's political and health leaders closing down the commerce that keeps this nation moving, the stock market has taken a dive, our businesses, restaurants, shops, theaters, sports, schools and other essential services have come to a standstill. Our major transportation systems have dwindled to a fraction of what they were. Panic has enveloped some of our citizens, thanks to the sensationalist media, and has caused them to make a run on products that have otherwise been in abundant stock. 

We Americans do many things very well. We invent, we create, we innovate, we improvise, we compete, we build, we mine, we transport, we volunteer, we help others, we educate, we learn from our mistakes and we adjust. One thing we are not very good at is doing nothing. We are an animated people and long periods of idleness irk us and makes us antsy. A quarantine, even if it is self imposed, may be healthy for the body, but it is debilitating to the soul. Cabin fever will begin to set in, if it hasn't already. With the wheels of our commerce turning at a small fraction of normal, we, as a country, are losing our people's jobs. The United States cannot continue at this snail's pace and keep on as the freest, richest, hardest working nation in the world and keep a healthy economy. 

What the country needs is a balance between our physical health, our mental health and our economic health. We need triage for these three separate entities. As of this writing, there has only been one reported death of a corona virus victim under the age of 16. The medical experts have been telling us that non-smokers, non-vaporers or alcoholics who are under 65, who have no major health problems, have little to fear from this virus. With all of the college aged people refusing to heed the health warnings and commingling during the spring break, we'll see if this holds true. I suspect it will. The other side of the equation is that the higher risk group is persons over 65 and those that have health problems, i.e., asthma, diabetes, cancer, COPD or other respiratory ailments. 

It should appear obvious that those in the high risk category should self quarantine. Anyone in the United States who does not know by now if he or she is in the high risk group, is surely under the care of someone who does. We are a free country, however. Those in this group who have not tested positive for this virus and who have weighed the danger and decided to go out in public, do so at their own peril. Their psychological health might be compromised by the too much seclusion and that is their decision to make.

The people in the low risk category should go back to work and get their lives back to normal. The threat to our economic well being is likely more hazardous to the country as a whole, as this pandemic is. A long time shutdown of our economy would likely cause a depression as bad or worse than the Great Depression. Unemployment would skyrocket, the stock market would crash. We need to consider all of the dangers to our health, our psyches, and our commerce and do what is best for our country.

Buz Williams

Richard F. "Buz" Williams was born into a police family.  His father, both grandfathers, a great uncle and a cousin were all on the Los Angeles Police Department and he also had an uncle on the Hawthorne, California Police Department.  Buz served for 29 years on the Long Beach, California Police Department were he worked Patrol, Juvenile, Vice, Auto Theft and Gangs.  He retired in December of 2002.  Buz has been married to his wife Judi for 44 years.  They have two grown sons who live in Southern California with their families, which include two daughter-in-laws, three grandsons and a granddaughter.  Buz and Judi have lived in Prescott since 2004.