How do you reason about your position on COVID-19?

Politics, executive orders, barbers, mask-shaming, freedoms, powers, and egos aside, experiences around the world have taught a few lessons on how to greatly reduce COVID-19 infections.

  1. Wear a mask when you are with people outside your household.
  2. Minimize time indoors with multiple people.
  3. Move activities outdoors when it makes sense.
  4. Wash your hands often.
  5. If you feel sick, stay home and even stay away from your own family members.

Now, slow down your emotional reactions to that list by asking yourself some questions—or even discussing these with your friends and family.

  1. How much do I actually care to reduce COVID-19 infections among my family, friends, and community? (Try answering on a 1–10 scale.)
  2. Do I practice some of those 5 countermeasures, but not all? Why not those ones?
  3. How bad do I think getting COVID-19 would be for me and those around me and how at risk for getting it are we really, now? Am I acting in line with that risk assessment?
  4. Do I believe I’ve had COVID already and can’t get it now? Do I believe I don’t have it and thereby can’t transmit it? Is this belief based on knowledge or opinion?
  5. What motivates me the most: fear of sickness/death of myself or those I love, love/care for others, desire for normal life, respect for those in power, defense of personal freedom, or righteous indignation?
  6. Am I upset by how others are acting and talking about this? Are other people’s conduct within my zone of control or influence? How much should things outside that zone get me riled up? 
  7. If I want to get others to change, what is the most effective tactic: arguing, shaming, silent treatment, avoiding them, setting an example, sharing information, showing care, persuading, etc.?

My hope is that we examine our positions and build an integrity for them that unifies our reasoning and our emotions, and even discuss this hard topic with those closest to us.

If we can’t have a serious talk with those we love, I’m not sure we’re really living our lives.

I was inspired to write this by the opening of today’s The Morning Briefing in The New York Times.

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