Schrödinger’s Virus? Here’s How the Classic Paradox Can Help You Understand Why You Should Stay The Fuck Home.
USA Today recently published a story titled “Labs are testing 100,000 people each day for the coronavirus. That’s still not enough.” This lack of testing is exactly what allows our analogy of Schrödinger’s Cat to assist in explaining why it is crucial for all you stir crazy folks to stay the fuck home.
A figure of two people who, at the same time have COVID-19 and do not have COVID-19.
A brief explanation of Erwin Schrödinger’s thought experiment is surely in order. Drumroll, please… Now presenting, Schrödinger’s Cat! Let’s break the experiment down to it’s most basic elements. First, understand that the experiment involves a cat, a bunker, and an explosive or, poison in some cases. The cat is just that, a cat, not much more to that aspect of the experiment. The bunker can be any container in which the cat can not escape and the person conducting the experiment can not see inside. You may have heard this part of the experiment explained using a box in place of a bunker. The final element, which makes things a little more interesting is an explosive, or poison that is placed inside the bunker with the cat. The explosive is unstable gunpowder that has a 50 percent chance of blowing up within 60 seconds and a 50 percent chance of doing nothing at all. It follows that until someone looks in the bunker, the cat could be dead or alive, in fact, both are true at the same time. The cat is equal parts alive as it is blown to bits.
So, how does this paradox and quantum indeterminacy relate to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Well, given the noted lack of testing people are receiving we, much like the person conducting the experiment know not whether we have the virus or are healthy. Due to this uncertainty, we must act as if we have contracted the virus and as to not continue the spreading of the virus, stay the fuck home. In this new, and we should add, a truly awful scenario the renaming of the paradox to Schrödinger’s virus seems rather apropos.
We the people may find ourselves in a position where we feel perfectly healthy, we are non-symptomatic, and just want to go outside. This would be a mistake. This would be selfish. Just like the cat could be dead or alive, you could unknowingly be a carrier. So if you feel symptoms, do your best to get tested but, for the time being, we must act as if we all have COVID-19.
-A Well-Mannered Scholar