My COVID Times Diary – Acceptance
I think we’ve hit an interesting point during these COVID times. I’m calling it acceptance, although a more accurate term might submission. I really think that as a society the United States has given into the corona virus. We’ve given up and have declared it the victor. What was it that the corona virus did to so easily defeat us? Well, quite frankly it made things uncomfortable for us. Yup, that’s all it took, it is apparently too hard for us to wear a mask and to social distance.
Of course life has to move forward and businesses have to function. We started out well, some places did absolutely amazing and are seeing the fruits of that work with lower infection and hospitalization rates. Overall in America the rate of deaths from COVID have been declining consistently for over a month now. A lot of that reflects the high infection and death rates in NY and NJ declining. And most places are using this as justification for “opening” up society even more than we already have. Tonight on my walk life seemed very much back to normal in downtown San Bruno. Almost every business was open, including all of the bars and restaurants. The local bar was crowded, people shoulder to shoulder with nary a mask in sight. The streets were busy with traffic, honestly, if it weren’t for the people that were wearing masks, you could have easily thought it was June 2019, not June 2020.
Great you might say, it’s about time life has gotten back to normal. the problem is, things aren’t normal, there is still a virus raging in America killing 500 people a day, that’s 15,000 a month. The equivalent of an average year of flu deaths every two months, and that’s after shelter in place orders generally shut down society for 6 -12 weeks. As we are re-starting society there was an expectation of more infections and of course more deaths. But the goal was to move slow, do lots of testing and contact tracing for positive cases. However we haven’t done a good job setting up for that, but have move forward anyway. We are currently seeing, in about a dozen states, high levels of infections, hospitals and ICU wards in particularly are also getting crowded again. Sounds like a warning bell, something to make us pull back.
But no, that would mean we were ready for sacrifice and fight against the virus. But that’s not who we are. Most of us consider twelve weeks of sheltering in place to have been a hardship and that we’ve done our part. I’ve heard many people say that they are done, it’s time to get back to normal. We’ve seen professional and college sports make the first moves to get restarted, only to find, once they started testing, clusters of dozens of positive cases. This is what we face with sports returning, what we face with secondary schools and college campuses opening. I have a feeling the July 4th holiday weekend is going to be a party for COVID even more than for us. With people feeling things are back to normal, with group size limits expanded, with bars and restaurants open, we’ll see crowds everywhere. Drinking in crowds, in close contact at bars, parties and barbecues is perfect for spreading the virus. I have a feeling in mid-July we will see the trend of decreasing COVID deaths flattening or even starting to grow again. Especially when you start having political rallies with 6000 people together, mask free, cheering in the same building for hours.
So it would sound like we’re about to be sheltered in place again as things start to get bad, but I don’t think that will be the case. You see, as I stated at the beginning, we’ve given in, acquiesced, we’ve come to accept that people will just have to die, so the rest of us can continue on with a relatively normal life. I find it really sad that the attitude I hear expressed far too often right now is, oh well, people are gonna die some time. I think that attitude only lasts until someone you know dies from the disease. But before then, people feel invincible and can justify acting irresponsibly. We’ve accepted that lots of people are going to die and as long as we’re not personally inconvenienced, well then that’s just fine.
Acceptance can be a good thing, as the quote says above, the best thing you can do when it rains, is to let it rain. Rain is inevitable and you can’t change or stop it. Acceptance was one of the most enduring lessons I picked up during my 1000 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. You come to learn when you are living out in the elements that you just have to come to accept the weather. That’s the frustrating part for me of this attitude I see. We can change this, simple social distancing and a high level of mask wearing would greatly reduce the risk of the infection exploding again. But we’ve given up, wearing a mask and being socially distant is just too hard for us, and that idea is just too sad for me. Stay safe and be well. ~ Michael ‘Rev’ Kane