At long last, the dumpster fire that was 2020 is behind us and there is reason to hope the new year will be better.
But just because we’ve flipped another page on the calendar doesn’t mean the pandemic is over, writes Business Report editor Stephanie Riegel in her new opinion piece.
The virus that causes COVID-19 doesn’t know that it’s 2021 or that we have a vaccine that will, hopefully, stem its spread in the months to come.
Instead, it’s doing what it’s been doing for the past year, seeking hosts, infecting people, making them sick and, in some cases, killing them—in record numbers.
Cases were higher over the recent holidays than at any time during the course of the yearlong pandemic and we weren’t supposed to be gathering with family and friends.
Yet the streets were jammed on the days leading up to Christmas, just like a normal year. Stores were packed with shoppers buying gifts to exchange and food to prepare for holiday feasts.
Listening to the radio in the car on the afternoon of Dec. 22, I caught Gov. Edwards’ press briefing. Stay home, his top health official implored. Think of others. Forgo the holiday meal so everyone will still be around to enjoy the figgy pudding next year.
I’m not being judgy because I was out, too, running errands for my own version of Christmas in the era of COVID-19. And, like everyone else, I was making up my own rules, living with my own rationalizations, masking and distancing while trying to maintain connections and traditions to the extent possible.
Was it good enough? Who really knows?
Most of us are trying our best to be safe and responsible. Some are doing a better job than others. But we all have our own interpretation of the rules and, let’s be honest, those rules can vary from day to day. Even the most careful among us are not following the best advice 100% of the time.
One year into this and we’re still all over the map about what to do and how to go about our days, Riegel writes, even those of us who believe in science and are trying to do the right thing.
This is important because 2021 could be worse than 2020—and for some it will be—unless we get on the same page. The months to come will be difficult. We have a lot of suffering and death ahead of us.
That’s not to say we should shut down the state again or close the schools. But we need to be careful and honest with ourselves about the exceptions we make to our own rules. The stakes are too high to do anything less.
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