Perhaps in the end this will make us stronger

In the last few days I have been haunted by the old saying: “If it does not kill you, it will make you stronger.” Wikipedia attributes this idea to Mithridates VI, King of Pontus (134-63 BC) who fortified his body against assassination by taking small amounts of lethal substances to build up his resistance to poisons.

In writing life’s school of war, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) wrote: “that which does not kill me makes me stronger.” Evolution depends on this simple axiom.

If an individual cannot deal with a new situation, he/she will die, but those who overcome danger, will survive and reproduce.

The ability to build up immunity to harmful substances in the environment is the process that helps us survive, and if enough individuals have immunity, we have “herd immunity” to help protect the whole population.

Personal wellness depends upon the wellness of other people in a community. This is one reason for a National Health Care system to support the wellness of all citizens.

At this point I know several people who are directly affected by this Corona virus. It can strike rich and poor, black and white alike. Each sick person will suffer, and many may die.

Older people are more likely to be compromised, but this disease is killing young people too. Covid 19 affects every facet of daily life.

I wonder how this toxic situation will change American culture. Graphs based on data from other countries suggest that 100 to 200 thousand people will die in the USA. It is time to take action and rapidly prepare to supply this short term demand. The federal government needs the power to order companies to make ventilators and surgical masks.

Covid 19 has created a unique situation when we need the immediate intervention of the federal government. Competition is not leading to a better product nor rapid supply of what is in demand.

Instead, local governments have been forced to bid against one another for the inadequate supplies that are available, and prices have gone up for essential health needs. In the Covid 19 crisis, the free-market economy has not worked well for the American people.

On the other hand, local people are realizing that they need more exercise. Each sunny day we see people on the local rail trail between Elkins and Parsons. Far more people have been using the trail than usual.

After this cataclysmic experience, I hope Americans will become more aware of their own role in caring for their personal health, and that we will be able to redesign our national health care system to provide affordable care for all. If it does not kill us, it may make us stronger.


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