My COVID Times Diary: Hope and Death
We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Pale death beats equally at the poor man’s gate and at the palaces of kings. ~ Horace
We’re nine months into the pandemic in the United States. I know there is no official start date, but for me it will always be March 12th, the day we closed the college I work at in the Bay Area of California. There has been an ebb and flow to the whole thing here in California. When the virus hit we went into a pretty extreme lockdown, it hurt businesses but it worked. The Bay Area lagged behind the state and many other urban areas in America in terms of infections and death. The mantra in the beginning was flatten the curve, in other words, be careful and stretch out the infections so that our hospitals wouldn’t get overwhelmed, thus saving lives. It worked, the curve flattened and the Bay Area did well, that was phase I.
Phase II was us letting our guards down, we re-opened business, salons, bars and people dropped their guards. The inevitable result was that over the summer, particularly around the holidays cases began to spike again. In California like many other places around the country we started this game of tiers, stages, color coded alert levels. Governments tried to tie the level of open business to the level of infection in the community, most places. But Americans are a stubborn bunch and places like the Dakotas, who were relatively unscathed in the early going ignored the precautions. Hell, they even held the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with thousands upon thousands of people gathering from around the country. The results were inevitable and cases exploded in the Dakotas to some of the worst rates of infection in the country, likely in the world.
After the silliness of people gathering all summer for barbecues and parties, ignoring mask wearing and social distancing protocols, rates first spiked and then started to drop again as the fall approached. But then came phase III – the holidays, Halloween, four weeks later Thanksgiving and four weeks after that, two weeks from now will be Christmas and New Years. Public health officials warned us that if we gathered there would be a spike, there would be deaths. But we didn’t listen, we went to Halloween parties and trick or treated. How do I know? Well my social media feeds were full of pictures of people, maskless, at parties, gathering with friends. So cases rose accordingly. Then we gathered for Thanksgiving, went to sporting events etc… and we got a spike on the spike. Currently, 3000 people are dying every day, that’s two people every minute, every day. You would think this would scare people into changing their behavior but it won’t. How do I know? People have been reaching out to me and many say, “I hope you’ll be with people for Christmas or are you visiting family?” Since I live alone, and they know this, this means they think it’s perfectly reasonable for the holidays to visit family and friends. So expect a spike, upon a spike, upon a spike. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of cases per day, 3000+ deaths daily or more.
Yes, there’s hope on the horizon, but before that hope can be realized we will massacre ourselves in droves and droves like suicidal lemmings going off a cliff. I’m so incredibly disappointed in my fellow Americans. So disappointed that people are not willing to inconvenience themselves to ensure the survival of others. My heart breaks for the people like nurses, doctors, supermarket workers ad others who are risking infection and death daily because they have to, while others so carelessly ignore the reasonable recommendations of public health officials.
There is hope of course, multiple vaccines are approved, or in the approval process. In fact, here in a America we started vaccinating people, mostly healthcare workers this very week. It’s not unreasonable to think by the the fall of 2021 that most of us will have the chance to be vaccinated. But between vaccine hesitancy, and people stopping precautions because they think it’s over, we’re a long way from being past this. I know everyone is tired of the precautions but it didn’t have to be this way. We could have masked up, we could have social distanced. That would have gotten businesses, schools open permanently sooner. How do I know? Well, other countries have done just that, but we haven’t. So we’ve got lots of death and now, with the vaccines, lots of hope. ~ Rev Kane