Solitary confinement is punishment

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

To the editor,

Just want to say a few things about our current situation with the virus.

First, I understand the point of view of our medical professionals, but I’m asking our leaders to weigh other factors:

Solitary confinement is a form of punishment. By confining every one to their homes, this is in effect what we are doing. The damage from all this forced isolation is going to be greater than what many are willing to admit. Right now we have families where both breadwinners are laid off with no money coming in. Many of these families are living “paycheck to paycheck,” with little if any savings. Money worries are one of the biggest stress factors in most marriages, worrying about paying bills, etc. is going to lead to domestic abuse, suicides and depression. Having children at home only compounds the situation. I don’t hear anyone in power, especially the media, considering this.

- Montana is a rural state, we have a measure of social distancing in our normal lives. The governor should LEAD and get us back to work TODAY. If this doesn’t happen soon, we will dig ourselves into an economic disaster from which we can not soon recover.

- Right now the fatality rate appears to be about 5 percent which is considerably worse than the typical influenza. This number will change as widespread testing becomes available. We are already hearing of upwards of 80 percent of the people with the virus of being asymptomatic. If the fatality rate goes down to 0.2 percent, similar to influenza, I’m afraid that the credibility of our medical professionals will be eroded. When the next virus comes, and there will be another, I’m afraid that the public will hear the warnings and look at it like the little boy who cried wolf, and we will all suffer for it, much more than we are now.

- This virus seems to be most fatal to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. We know who we are (I’m one of the “elderly,” I hate admitting this). Let us self-isolate until this passes. Most of us are already on Social Security and are retired, so we have our normal income. Let the young get back to work, today.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Take care of each other and hang in there.

Rick Harper