Quick! What day is today?
I hadn’t really thought about that except for a cartoon someone sent me. It was a list of the days of the week with every day crossed out to read
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on. “Day” after “day” until we don’t readily know what day it is.
Are the days since we were sort-of locked down blending one into the next for you? I mean, five or six weeks ago, how many of us had heard of “PPE,” “contact tracing,” “herd immunity,” or “flatten the curve?” How about “cytokine storm?”
You have probably thought about whether you should disinfect your mail or your groceries. Is it safer to go shopping during the senior/immunocompromised hour, which has fewer shoppers clogging the aisles and follows the allegedly nightly wipe down of shelves, doors, carts and checkout lanes? Do you need to use a wipe or hand sanitizer on your credit card? And how long should you wear your mask before you wash it or put it in the microwave or oven? Is the coffee filter between the layers of cloth adequate to keep COVID-19 virus from getting in?
Can you be more careful about distance when talking with a neighbor? Should you be worried when taking a walk that a passing runner or biker may be spewing droplets in your vicinity? Do you hold your breath for a few seconds after that person has left your air space? Are you going stir crazy at home with your kids or partner? If you haven’t been outdoors or handled anything, do you have to wash your hands for the requisite 20 seconds, or just the regular amount of time?
Did you make a list of things that needed to be done around the house, thinking that now you finally have the time to tackle those projects? How many on that list were odious tasks that you now have the time for but, still, after five or six weeks, have not been accomplished? Did you try to tackle some books that you meant to read, but YouTube videos or Netflix somehow got in the way?
Now that there are public officials, including the president, wanting to get back to “normal” or at least some form of business as usual starting in a few weeks, should you be re-booking that canceled vacation and making dinner plans with friends? Or, are you deciding to wait a couple of weeks as states and cities ease the bans on gatherings, and keeping the mask on to see if the early birders will start showing symptoms?
Once things get back to “normal,” does that mean we can go to a movie, sporting event, restaurant, park, or anywhere that returns to crowded conditions? Will the new normal require spatial distances that remind us that we can’t sit or stand so close as to risk the dreaded virus?
A vaccine is at least a year away, the health experts say. If one is developed, I wonder what the position of the anti-vaxxers will be. People who survive COVID-19 may have antibodies in their blood, but no one is sure if they now have immunity–or, if they do, how long it will last.
Governors and other officials are trying to balance factors of health with the economy. With unemployment figures likely not seen since the Great Depression, there is a lot of pressure to get the economy going again. The economy was booming as recently as early March. But many fear that if we move too quickly to resume employment, we are likely to have another peak with the virus. Much of that is beyond our control. Some officials are looking to end the current safety measures soon–perhaps too soon. Most are looking at a gradual phase-in, bringing back to work people who are not quite essential but certainly necessary to revive the economy.
Personally, I would rather be on the side of caution and wait for more testing to see if we are truly in a reverse spread of the virus. I certainly miss the ability to go to the store or have lunch out or having friends over. And I miss the visits with our grandkids–a FaceTime session isn’t quite the same.
The zeal of those protesters demanding we get back to normal is putting pressure on mayors and governors to shorten the discomfort and hardship of citizens. The image of the health worker in scrubs standing in front of a protester hanging out the car window in Denver on Sunday reminded me of the Chinese man standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Strength is moral in the face of power. The Denver health worker and the man facing the Chinese tank both have that strength of morality–doing what is right. I’m willing to wait. I don’t want to be one of the victims nor, if I were an asymptomatic carrier of the virus, infect someone else.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contribution writer or the Lyons Recorder.