Let’s use a track meet as an image of what we are all experiencing now. Let’s consider the lockdown in terms of a race. Let’s think of it first as a one mile race: 4 times around the track.

At the starter’s signal the runners take off. For the 1st half of the first lap (1 lap = 1 time around the track) the runners go pretty fast so they can have space to run. No one could run a whole mile at that pace.

Runners settle into a pace for the second and third laps. If someone is coming up from behind they may run a little faster to maintain their lead. If someone is ahead they may speed up to pass them.

The 4th and final lap is where it gets interesting. Most runners save some energy for the last half of the last lap. The idea is to finish strong. Going into the final curve runners speed up. Coming out of the final curve they pour it on; they run as fast as they can. If a runner runs too fast early in the race, they will tire and turn in a poor time. If they wait too long for the final sprint they will be too far behind to catch up. Runners know their distance; they can tell when they are getting tired; they know how much “gas they have left in the tank.”

Being in lockdown is like running a race in which we don’t know the distance. Will we be going around 4 times? 6? 8? There is no way to know. We do know that sitting around the house is very different from running a mile as fast as you can.

We all want the lockdown to be over so we can live our lives the way we like. We want it to be over, but like running a race, we need to finish it right. If we ease up on the restrictions too early, we will see infections, hospitalizations and deaths increase. Runners always try to make their times go down. No one wants to see those graphs go up.