level two

Seoul has been raised to Level Two. It hasn’t yet hit the metrics that would cause that change of levels but the KCDC is showing some flexibility and foresight, which is good. The surge is large and concerning enough. There’s no sense waiting for the two week average to trigger this move. Level Two it is. Better off doing it sooner rather than later. If we’ve learned anything, we’ve learned that much. The fastest and safest route is to just get started.

A lot of the current spread seems to be through churches and small gatherings. Groups of friends and families meeting, that sort of thing. This kind of shows what a bastard this disease is. It’s easier to keep your guard up around strangers. It’s much harder to get it into your head and keep it in your head that it’s the people you know and like that might carry it.

The gathering of strangers feels dangerous. The little meeting with people you know and like? Not so much. It’s much harder to associate danger with the very people who you associate with safety. Over the long term, this doesn’t get easier. The longer you go without getting sick from these people, the more your brain wants to tell you that there’s no threat there. Those people, your friends and family, might feel safe and comfortable to be around. That’s how they’re supposed to feel and that’s how you’re supposed to feel around them. But a virus just doesn’t care about that. The shit is ruthless. It preys on intimacy.

And that creates a bit of a catch 22. Intimacy is one of the best tools we have against the virus. You have to get physically distant but emotionally close. Strange and difficult trick. All of society is in some sort of long distance relationship.

It’s one of the reasons why I keep trying to emphasize trust instead of anger. We have to view the basic measures as just caring about each other. That way we can tie these measures to our interactions with the people we care about and those people we feel most comfortable with. The option is being on guard forever. That external threat thinking is exhausting in a situation where exhaustion is an enemy. It’s also ineffective.

Being angry with non-compliant strangers only undercuts that important feeling of care. Such anger puts the disease in someone else, which makes you feel even safer around those you care about, and just creates in-group out-group paranoia, which does a lot more harm than good. You have to view yourself as a carrier. (Within reason, of course.) And what you do about that situation is an act of love, shared vulnerability, and basic giving a shitness.

And, like, fucking hell, I know anger is satisfying and I’m sure not above it. (Some of these bozos, so help me Satan . . .) We’re all going to swing at pitches and miss. That shit happens. But when we do that, we just got to get back in the box and try to get our approach right. The thing doesn’t stop. We need trust. We need care.

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