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I understand that Covid-19 is a deadly virus, and we need to take it very seriously. However, the blunt approach of shutting the entire country down is deadly as well, and that fact has to be recognized. To illustrate what I mean in real time, I point to Knox County in Eastern Tennessee where all the students have been sent home from University of Tennesse, and the world has essentially been shut down like everywhere else outside of the business that still buzzes inside various Walmarts and Krogers.
This is not the epicenter of Covid-19 in the Volunteer State. That is Nashville, a city that clearly annoyed Mother Nature in some way because she started gut-punching the poor capital way back when this virus still had something to do with Wuhan. The vast majority of the state’s almost 2,000 Covid-positive patients live in or around Nashville, which has never had time to recover from the slashes made to its belly by tornadoes.
Knoxville is further east, nestled near the Great Smoky Mountains, a relatively small city known for being a college town. Knox County has currently identified a total of 41 Covid-19 cases, and no one wants that number to go any higher, so self-isolation is the name of the game. But that is only part of the story of how people are interacting with this pandemic.
One should also be aware that during just this past week in which the strategy has been one of isolation and economic shutdown, local officials dealt with nine suicides in Knox county, eight of which occurred in a window of 48 hours. To put this in perspective, in 2019, there were only 83 suicides in Knox County for the entire year.
Of course, we do not know why these people felt such despair that they took such drastic measures, but we should look at that number and consider what it might mean as it happens at this moment, especially since only seven people have died in the entire state of Tennessee of Covid-19.
I don’t have the answers about what the government should do here, but I also don’t think despair at this moment is irrational or without consequence. I would simply like to know that all the ramifications of various policies are being as seriously considered as containment of the pandemic itself. Everything that we do has the potential to thrust darkness into the lives of others.Published in