Circles on water
Dear Fred, Have you ever skipped rocks over a still pond.
Every time the rock touches the water’s surface it sends out cascading ripples which keep expanding long after the point of contact has returned to being still and calm.
It has been a couple months since I have written you to provide you with more content for the 100th anniversary retrospective of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic that you are putting together there in the year 2120. Future reporter Fred, your editor should at least consider giving me a shared byline for all the work I am doing in providing you ready-made content. At the very least I hope that it gives your readers a greater understanding of what it was like living through this weird time.
I am writing to you again from the makeshift office space in my basement storage space/workroom. This is typically where I spend time puttering with home brew beer recipes and other projects. It is also the space I spent many hours working from last spring when people were being advised to stay home whenever possible and reduce possible contact with others. I am back working remotely because my wife is currently on quarantine after being exposed at her workplace to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. While I am not quarantined, my office is having me work from home as an added layer of precaution.
It is like those ripples in the water I was referring to at the beginning of this column. Throughout the pandemic, people have been steadily bombarded with data. We are told numbers of cases at the county, state and national level on a daily basis. But we seldom hear the stories of the ripples each of those cases cause.
Just two positive cases at the high school this week caused nearly 60 people to be put in quarantine from the school and even more throughout the community when you consider family connections and other workplaces.
At the same time, we have people desperately wanting things to return to normal to the point of rejecting the idea that any of this is real. There continues to be a vocal group that believes the threat of the virus to be at the very least inflated, if not entirely fabricated. So it’s pretty much par for the course if you have looked back at pandemics over the course of history.
While far from normal, things have at least gotten more routine in the past few months. Last month the governor ordered that masks be worn indoors until September 28. While there are those, including a letter writer in this week’s paper who point out that this isn’t a “law” because it didn’t get voted on by the legislature. Like it or not the order carries the weight of law as an emergency order and can be prosecuted by the district attorney (DA) like any other violation, of course the reality is that the DA has enough other things going on that playing mask cop is a very low priority.
About the biggest lesson to come from all of this is one of personal responsibility. Most people are abiding by the order because it makes sense and because the relatively minor inconvenience or discomfort of wearing a mask is a small price to pay if it could keep someone else from getting sick. As with most illnesses, the virus impacts people differently, what one person shakes off after a day or two of feeling under the weather could be enough to put another person who may have other issues over the edge.
It is one of those situations where the Golden Rule of treating others like you would want to be treated comes into play. This goes doubly for those who choose not to wear masks or take any sort of precaution. They seem almost disappointed when others take the high road and choose not to be baited into arguments that serve no one any good.
In the end, all we can hope for is the pond to return to being still once again.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.