I join with all who are exhausted with protocols meant to diminish the propagation of COVID-19. There has been nothing like this in our lifetimes. It has maintained a presence in our thinking over the past several months and shows no signs of an end anytime soon. Some predict even more difficult struggles as Fall turns into Winter.
For some, that means it’s time to just stop. Take off the mask. Forget all the precautions. It’s too much to think about any more. I hear this in various statements made.
“If it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go and a mask isn’t going to stop it.”
“Most people won’t die. For those that do, it’s sad, but we can’t give up our freedoms for the sickly.”
“None of the numbers are reliable, it’s all just a means to control us.”
“Government organizations and scientists have changed their minds so many times, who can even know what to do?”
“It’s just not that big of a deal. The virus itself won’t kill you. It is the other stuff that gets you.”
“Masks are a total delusion – they don’t help at all.”
“I have faith, so God will keep me from getting the virus.”
And one of the worst…
“This will all disappear on November 4th.”
While all of these statements are either demonstrably untrue or reflect a focus on self at the expense of others, I continue to hear them. More, I continue to see them demonstrated in the actions of people on social media and real life. I get it. It is tempting to just dump the whole virus lifestyle and get back to pre-COVID life.
There are some very real reasons why we cannot lay down our vigilance at stopping coronavirus spread within our circle of influence.
- The virus is not aware of your feelings about coping. It isn’t listening to your demands nor your proclamations that it’s nothing to worry about. It is a silent and invisible enemy that does not choose its path by how people feel about it.
- The virus is not a respecter of persons. When we gather with other people and disregard social distancing protocols, we act as if we are impervious to the virus. Yet we continue to read reports that rebut that position. Wedding parties become super spreader events, church gatherings that lead to virus propagation and infection, and even political rallies that claim the lives of prominent politicians. It’s not hard to find others who are ready to ditch the efforts to contain the virus and…that’s part of the problem.
- The virus has claimed thousands of lives and continues to do so every day. If we explain away that those people were already sick, or have co-morbidities, or were about to die anyway – we are close to saying it’s ok for them to die. Anyone on board with that?
- The virus continues to rage around the world. It keeps coming back. That tells me that no matter if you live in Italy, Spain, or the United States, you are going to have to deal with this virus for quite some time.
- The virus will not be ignored. The approach many take is just to ignore the whole thing. Sure, you can point to some gatherings where the virus did not break out. You can name people who have had the virus and never had a symptom. You can downplay, explain away, compare away – but ultimately the reality is that the virus is spreading, growing, and is difficult to eradicate without the basic protocols (wash hands, wear a mask, stay more than 6 feet away).
You may not agree with the political approaches to dealing with the virus, but don’t allow that to let your guard down. Because there is one more thing I want to mention that we often forget.
- You can bring the virus to someone who may suffer and lose their lives, and you not even be aware of it. The invisible nature of this virus puts us all at risk. I know some people characterize this as living in fear. Careful approaches to all dangerous situations in life are a common practice, even among the bravest of individuals. If I have any fear, it is that I could bring the virus to someone I love who may not be asymptomatic. I’m not concerned that this could happen, but that it has happened thousands of times.
Giving up now may mean more than you think. So before you gather with that crowd, consider whether there is an effort to contain the potential infection. None of our efforts are 100% effective, but we can do all we can do. There are many stories of people who are not compromised in their health but end up in ICU anyway.
The thing that I try to remember is that every effort I make is not about me trying to stay well, it’s about me trying to keep people I love well.
That’s important to me.