PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MARCH 16
By Leo Haggerty

LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS

This week begins what is commonly referred to as Spring Break in the beachfront communities of of the southern United States especially in Florida.  College students from around the nation descend upon The Sunshine State for a time of fun and frolic with friends along with massive amounts of adult beverages of their choice.

For some, it may be the first time they have ventured outside the confines of their hometowns or campus environments.  They are ready to PARTY!

Many government officials in Florida, specifically in Miami Beach, are warning visitors that an anything-goes party attitude will not be tolerated.  This was emphasized by Miami Beach city manager Raul Aguila when he proclaimed, “Miami Beach is not going to tolerate anarchy.”

Even with that precursor, Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber predicts “a larger than normal spring break” due to the drop in Covid related deaths in the United States.  That’s statement was made probably because he doesn’t expect the younger generation to listen to all the warning that they hear from the so-called experts.  Now, before you pass judgement on these younf folks, let me remind you of two salient facts.

First, remember when you were in your 20s.  You didn’t need any guidance from “the old folks” because you had all the answers.  You had this, right?

With that being said, it calls to mind one of the greatest pearls of wisdom that my father gave to me when I was in that same age range.  During a serious conversation, he simply stated, “I have a tremendous advantage over you.  I know what it’s like to be young and you don’t know what it’s like to be old.”  Sound advice from the sage old submariner.

Second, we fight wars with young people for a reason and that’s because they think they’re invincible.  You tell a soldier to charge a machine gun nest and they react without hesitation.  Sure, someone is going to get shot. and possibly killed, but it won’t be me.

Now, you ask an older individual to accomplish the same task on the battlefield and they may want to have the commanding officer explain their rationale.  Hey, Captain, you want us to do what?  You catch my drift here, correct?

The 20-something generation, like all generations before them, believe they are going to live a long life.  They look at Covid like it’s the flu.  They feel that, if they do contract the coronavirus, that are strong and healthy enough to fight it off.  In their mind, only the old and those that are not in good health will be effected.  It’s how they think and it’s how we thought when we we that age.

Although I don’t necessarily agree with all the Spring Break activities, what it will do is give the scientific community a great barometer to actually see how far we have come in combatting the pandemic.  If we get a huge spike in the mortality rate due to Covid because of Spring Break, then it’s time to scale back activities.  If that doesn’t occur, then it’s time to push forward to the next phase of returning to as close to normal as possible.

Let’s see how this plays out, shall we?  It will definitely tell where we are in terms of combatting the pandemic in the US.