Wearing Your Seatbelt for Coronavirus

Food for Thought

I’m sad to hear that Jing Fong shuttered because they seat more than 500 people, and the city had to ban any public space that accommodates more than 500. Hopefully, they can reopen in the future.

Some people were confused by my recent post because I said I’m not worried about the virus while, at the same time, I’m taking all these precautions. Let me clarify:

I’m not worried about the coronavirus BECAUSE I’m taking precautions. It’s wrongheaded to see precaution as a form of fear. Wearing your seatbelt is not an expression of fear but a sign of intelligence. Every year over a million people die from car accidents in the world. Are you worried about it? No. But, does that mean you wouldn’t wear your seatbelt? No. That would be stupid.

Car accidents are horrific for those who are involved and for their friends and families, but we go about our day without even thinking about it. That is how we function in our society.

The new coronavirus will also be horrific for many people, particularly for the seniors. But it’s fine for us to go on without worrying about it. In fact, I would argue that it is our duty to do so. Otherwise, we would be entirely consumed by worrying about the countless things that are killing people every day. How would we make progress? If bakers were consumed by worries and stopped baking bread, we wouldn’t have bread to eat. If cashiers at supermarkets were consumed by fear, we wouldn’t be able to buy our groceries.

Wearing your seatbelt for the coronavirus means avoiding crowds, working from home (if possible), and washing your hands frequently, and not touching your face. It’s not so different from what I’ve been doing for many years. Given the data we have so far, if you take these precautions seriously, you shouldn’t have to worry about your life. Yes, still many people will die from the coronavirus, but a lot more people are already dying every day from other causes. Worrying about it even after taking precautions would, in fact, cause more harm to our society, because your productivity will decline and because fear too is contagious.

So, I’d say, do the smart thing, and don’t worry about it.