Seven hundred plus.
That’s the number of days COVID has held us in its grasp.
Today, I lost a dear friend to the virus. I believe if people had not turned a health issue into a political debacle, this friend, along with the others I’ve lost, would still be here.
In late 2019, several cases of an origin-unknown pneumonia were reported from China. Early in January 2020, it was found to be caused by a novel coronavirus. Designated as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), it quickly began to be referred to as COVID-19. It became apparent by March 2020 we were in the beginning stages of a widespread — indeed global — occurrence of a highly infectious disease. It was the very definition of a global pandemic, the likes of which had not been seen in a century.
Since then, over 900,000 Americans, including over 13,000 Kentuckians, have died either directly or indirectly from the disease. There have been four distinct surges of the disease. Are we at the end? If we judge the future by the past, the answer would be No.
In the beginning, there were no answers – only fear and stabs in the dark trying to use any previous instances of similar diseases to stop people from getting sick and dying. Governments tried to do what they could, developing mandates to keep folks apart to stop the spread of the increasingly deadly virus. Hospitals and morgues were overwhelmed, and lockdowns of whole cities and countries happened across the world. No one was safe from the raging disease.
Within the first few months, masks and “social distancing” were found to reduce the spread. Within the first year, vaccinations and medical treatments were developed to battle the disease.
Sadly, along with incomprehensible numbers of the sick and dying, misinformation and disinformation began to circulate saying that the virus was simply a cold or flu. The ever-changing nature of the virus wore on the psyche of people. A global health issue quickly became a political football with some declaring requiring people to wear masks, stay inside, and stay apart was an infringement of their personal rights. Anger and fear began to permeate the country.
Now over 700 days later, we are still losing upwards of 2,000 people a day in the U.S., and upwards of 20 or more a day in Kentucky. This, even though we have vaccines that are safe and effective, and proven science that masking and keeping your distance work.
Arguments against these recommended procedures have been many and varied. Most are disingenuous at best, and downright ridiculous at worst.
For instance, the argument of “so I have to go to a restaurant in a mask, but I can take it off when I eat? If it’s so bad, how come I can’t get it while I eat?” The answer is quite simple – you wear the mask when you are away from the table. A table that is at least six feet from other people – which is the recommended distance because the aerosol of the disease does not travel more than six feet from person to person. Also, the people eating together would either be in the same family or at least all be vaccinated, boosted, and possibly tested so as not to be carriers.
Unfortunately, explaining the science doesn’t seem to matter – because most of the responses have nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with current political arguments.
700 days of COVID. 900,000 deaths across our country. 13,000 deaths across Kentucky. Hospitals are full. ER’s are overrun. Staff are burned out and raw.
Masks work. Distancing works. Vaccines offer protection; though not a cure, they provide a buffer to serious illness and possible death while allowing for the development of medicines that do cure or at least save lives. These are facts. Period.
Science gives us the tools we need to battle these issues. Politics have a place in this world, but it is not between our doctors, the facts, and our health.
Written by Debby Lucas Angel. Debby is a farmer, yoga instructor, and retired state manager from Grant County. She is currently running for KY 61st House District Representative because she's tired of the fooferall.
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