If You Spread Coronavirus, They'll Probably Track You Down

March 16, 2020

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We live in an era of trolling, of "look at me!" social media stunts, and of haphazard and misdirected tribalism, so maybe this shouldn't be a surprise, but plenty of Americans aren't taking the coronavirus threat seriously. There was plenty of anecdotal evidence this weekend, like a woman who bragged about eating at a crowded Red Robin in defiance of the pandemic, or all the social media photos of people still out at bars and packed into restaurants and stores. Of course, that's exactly what's going to spread this virus. You can be infected and contagious for DAYS before you show symptoms. It lives on surfaces. And even if you're in good health, you could be putting those who aren't in danger. "Flattening the curve" and social distancing are empathy tests.  Do you care enough about other human beings and our society to inconvenience yourself and change your routine?  So far, things don't look that great. But here's something you should know: If empathy and self-preservation aren't enough, maybe accountability will be. If you do wind up spreading coronavirus, there's a good chance it will be traced back to you. Virologists and epidemiologists can, and will, trace strains of the virus back to their local origins. It's important in their efforts toward trying to curb the spread. And it also means that you'll find out just how many people you got sick.