Indrek Kiisler: Please stop the hysteria, I want to get off

ERR's Indrek Kiisler. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Will we continue to listen to and watch reports on new cases, masks, death and free hospital beds forever? It seems to me that many people take pleasure in spiking their nerves with fear serum, Indrek Kiisler writes.

It is said that a single fool can ask more questions than a hundred wise men can answer. And it's true. Providing answers in mid-April 2020 is more difficult than ever because all the aspects of freezing life on such a colossal scale are impossible to grasp. Especially when one is still sitting safely at home, being paid salary benefits or "sick" leave.

What could be more exciting than lying on the couch in the mid-morning waiting for new coronavirus statistics to come on the news? Being told by politicians every day that "people's health comes first."

And let us all only think about current affairs. God forbid we should peek at the long term! It's best not to think about what will happen in fall or winter if we carry on like this.

However, I find that a lot of important questions are justified.

Why are we sitting at home? Is it only so we could minimize the number of new cases of the coronavirus by the end of May? What then? We might count fewer cases in June, while they will start growing again in August and we'll be back in isolation in our (still) warm rooms come autumn?

We all know that viruses are here to stay. The head of the coronavirus task force has said that eradicating the virus cannot be our goal because it is unrealistic.

Will we continue to listen to and watch reports on new cases, masks, death and free hospital beds forever? It seems to me that many take pleasure in spiking their nerves with fear serum.

Around 1,400 people die in Estonia every month. Cardiovascular disease alone takes 15 people every day, while that's irrelevant today. We are sitting around, eating crispy chicken wings brought home by Wolt and washing it down with something unhealthy. The kilos are being piled on at a frightful pace, with health problems in tow. Only we should keep in mind that the Health Insurance Fund will soon be broke as it is burning cash on sickness benefits used to support those sitting at home.

But that's all in the future and the finance minister will borrow. Loan money is also a good way to cater to voters by slashing excise duties, promising fancy bridges and straight highways. The future looks bright on credit, while the only thing one has to do today is stay home where it's warm.

But it will all come to an end with a bang. People will need to return to work, while it could very well turn out there is no more job to return to.

I believe the time has come for everyone to work on their own personal exit strategy. Restarting life depends on more than the government's crisis committee, struggling entrepreneurs, teachers or doctors. Above all, everyone will have to realize that the coronavirus will not disappear but will be added to the list of potentially fatal diseases that follow us around. It is self-explanatory that people need to observe health rules, wash hands and stay home if they suspect they have taken ill.

The government and Riigikogu do not have to wait for a grand emergency situation closing ceremony and the prime minister's seemingly endless thank-you speeches. The restart or rather efforts to save oneself can already be made by the state and people to demonstrate true desire to escape the deadlock.

For example, by bringing back the 180 people on the Finnish and Latvian borders guarding utterly deserted boundary markers. By the way, both Latvia and Finland have fewer coronavirus cases per capita than Estonia, begging the question of who or what are they guarding.

Hospitals can also return to performing scheduled surgeries as far as it's possible because planned activities have been put on hold in the emergency situation and, as remarked by a physician, inaction is already having a negative effect on doctors.

Younger children could be allowed to return to school as kindergartens have remained open, meaning there is no real reason to keep children who are a little older at home.

I'm sure experts can come up with all sorts of measures to relax the situation. At the very least, Estonia's corona-exit could be our number one topic of discussion and activity plan.

But first of all, we need to overcome the fear that has gripped society. In other words, please, let us end the hysteria!


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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