2300: Everyone's an Epidemiologist
|Everyone's an Epidemiologist|
Title text: If enough people uphill decide to try the rolling strategy, they can make the decision for you.
Megan complains that the sudden rise in awareness of COVID-19 has led to many people that act as if they are epidemiologists; i.e. experts on the issue of global policy and the virus's traits, while in fact most are just repeating what they have heard from various news outlets, which do not always get everything right. She compares the situation to people who are suddenly expert on mountain climbing safety every time a mountaineering disaster hits the news - and uses an analogy of Joseph Beuys' "Everyone is an artist" for saying that.
Cueball notes that her analogy fails to account that everyone is directly affected by the virus, meaning that everyone should be educating themselves on the topic as much as possible, similar to how if everyone was stranded in mountains all at once, lots of people would try to become experts as fast as possible.
Megan acknowledges this fact, but continues the mountaineer analogy to the virus saying that she wishes those that now think they are experts would at least not go out on TV saying they found out that everyone would come down fast if they just curl up in to balls and roll down because their "research on gravity" says they will get to the bottom quickly, which Cueball agrees.
In corona pandemic terms, this is probably a reference to those that claim we need to get out of lockdown as fast as possible, to save the economy (the closure of which has its own costs, potentially including losses of life through e.g. depression, homelessness, displacement, and so on), and maybe to induce herd immunity (SARS-CoV-2 does not mutate as rapidly as e.g. the influenza family of viruses, so it is hoped that individuals who are infected and survive will develop long-term immunity, and that a single vaccine will be very broadly effective, but this is still not known for certain as of this writing). But those are not considering all the lives at stake, which is what frustrates Megan. Who should decide that those with weak immune systems should be placed in such grave risk, for the better of the economy? Maybe not the every-man who has read something on the internet... which could be wrong, see 386: Duty Calls.
The title text explains how the decision may not even be yours; if those who were in more precarious positions above you now start to hit you on the way down and cause you to tumble as well, you will also end up as one of those rolling downhill. And in pandemic terms - if enough people ignore the precautions, then it will be much harder for the rest to avoid getting the disease, which will cause more deaths.
The rolling-down-hill strategy is reminiscent of 1217: Cells in that it solves the immediate problem (whether being stuck on a mountain, or having some disease) while also likely killing the patient. It may therefore be in reference to Trump's widely reported comments that an injection of a disinfectant could cure coronavirus; such an injection would "kill" (inactivate) any virus particles it contacted, but it would also kill so many of the patient's cells as to risk the patient's life.
The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event in which people intentionally roll down a steep hill (chasing after a wheel of cheese, or a foam replica since 2013), and they do indeed reach the bottom very quickly (the cheese was known to reach speeds in excess of 70 mph) and are often injured enough to require hospitalization, although because all participants are volunteers in good health, there have been no fatalities. The May 2020 event has been canceled due to COVID-19.
Alternately, it may be a reference to the "just succumb to the problem" solution of ignoring the dangers involved in letting what happens happen. Just quickly get everyone into the valley bottom and they all (who survive) subsequently have a herd immunity where none of them now needs to be scared of falling any more, and can jostle against anyone else without any such issues.
- [Megan and Cueball are walking with makeshift medical masks covering their lower faces. Megan has thrown her arms in the air, and a star burst at her forehead where her speech line emanates, indicate she is agitated.]
- Megan: Ugh, everyone's an epidemiologist.
- Megan: It's like when there's a mountaineering disaster in the news, and suddenly everyone is an expert on mountain climbing safety.
- [In a frame-less panel they walk on together.]
- Cueball: I mean, it's not exactly like that.
- Cueball: If the entire world's population were suddenly stranded on mountaintops together, a lot of people would understandably be trying to become mountaineering experts really fast.
- Megan: Okay, that's fair.
- [Megan stops and lift both hands palm up while Cueball walks past her.]
- Megan: But I do wish they wouldn't keep going on TV and saying "According to my research on gravity, if everyone curls into a ball and rolls, we'll get to the bottom quickly!"
- Cueball: Yes, that's definitely not helping.
- This is a rare Thursday comic, published on Thursday, April 30.
- It is unclear whether Randall forgot to release this on the regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule or if there were other reasons for the delay.
- A Friday comic was released normally, within 24 hours, thus it is likely just a problem with the release or problem with getting it finished on time.
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