Regardless of what opinion one has concerning this pandemic, it is indeed significant to consider how different, diverse and unequal the thoughts are about this virus.
I was always sure that people with similar backgrounds and education, who live in comparable environments, would somehow have similar conclusions on how to deal with a particular situation. Let's say a group of artists living in district "A", would most likely share an opinion on a certain topic and so would a group of people with a financial accounting background, living in district "B". As far as the Corona pandemic is concerned, I was even more sure that this theory was true, even though I read reports of a doctor "C" who was saying the complete opposite compared to doctor "D". I guessed that these diverging reports were based on the fact that these people were perhaps trying to get media attention.
Than I had lunch with two of my oldest friends from my University time. We were all exactly the same age, had the same technical education and were happily married with 1-2 kids. On top of that, all three of us were equally successful and we even lived in the same small town! But our opinions on Covid-19, wearing masks or not, social distancing, tracing app's, quarantine rules and so forth could not be more different. So much so that we even, for the first time in over 25 years, had a somewhat aggressive argument during our lunch meeting. That really got me thinking, especially as engineers tend to have a very systematic way of dealing with problems. If a strictly mechanical machine would not work and you have three engineers looking at the device, it is highly unlikely that one says "Let's disassemble it!", the second one murmurs, "Let's hug a tree to find out what its spirit says!" and the 3rd one is convinced that the problem will eventually go away by itself. No, you will have three people using different wording but saying the same thing: "Let's disassemble it!" The only discussion possible is about where to start the disassembly.
This pandemic is really dividing society. Decade-long neighbors suddenly do not talk to each other anymore and objective discussion seems impossible. As a result, people start to get worried about exposing their opinion. But that is surely a move in the wrong direction! Whatever the solution is, in this pandemic, it has to be a "together" to get out of this. So let's at least agree to disagree and show a certain tolerance to people that do not share our thoughts!
Special Guest Editor for November 2020
Steven Baiker, Publisher of Metal Finishing News, Switzerland