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It’s time to take COVID seriously

Tony Schumacher



I can’t decide what is more disturbing … the COVID- 19 pandemic, or the fact that so many people think it is a hoax. How many times have you heard that it will magically disappear the day after the election? It’s one thing to hear it from the general public but to have it foolishly perpetuated by various leaders of businesses, schools, and governments is alarming. The mountain of evidence that the pandemic is real is overwhelming. In case you have your head in the sand, Wisconsin is having a major COVID-19 surge right now which could overwhelm health care systems in the near future if left unchecked.

Do you deniers need to wind up in the hospital gasping for air to take this seriously? Many say it really only affects very old frail people who were going to die anyway, so it’s not a big deal. First, that is a cruel approach. Their lives have value too. Second, they are not the only ones succumbing to this disease. According to CDC statistics as of Sept. 23, about 80,000 people aged 35-74 have died from complications of COVID-19 in the United States. And nearly 2,000 people aged 0-34 have died from it in the U.S.

The impact of COVID-19 goes way beyond deaths. There are many documented cases of young adults getting serious blood clots and strokes from COVID-19, which may leave difficulties for the rest of their lives. Even people who exhibit mild or no symptoms may have longer term organ damage, according to recent studies. I personally know several healthy young folks who recently had COVID-19 with what is considered mild symptoms. Even that was not pleasant with a solid 10 days of flu-like ailments and fatigue. It is estimated that at least 40 percent of the adult U.S. population has underlying health conditions that put them a greater risk for more severe outcomes from COVID-19.

Northcentral Wisconsin has been one of the last places in the U.S. for the pandemic to really settle into. In the many months it took to get here, have we learned anything from the trials and mistakes from those areas that had it before us? Based on how many people refuse to wear masks, socially distance, or avoid high risk indoor gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, it doesn’t seem like it.

I get that it isn’t fun or convenient to maintain such health measures. It stinks that we can’t do all the things that we find enjoyable right now. It stinks that so many of us have been struggling financially during this pandemic, my business included. But in the end, what is more important? Is it activities, money, and stuff, or is it human life?

If we can’t work together to tackle this pandemic, what is going to happen when an even greater pandemic or non-medical calamity comes along? Come on, we can do better than this! Let’s not live in fear, but let’s be socially responsible.