I woke up this morning with so many things preying on my mind. Like everyone I had hoped to be returning to a kind of normalcy after a year of Covid-19. For a few fabulous weeks it really felt as though the worst of the problems of the last months were behind us. It’s been disappointing to see a rise in Covid-19 cases across the country and in multiple parts of the world, but I suppose it was inevitable. We are all weary of the challenges and sacrifices and anxieties associated with the virus. We just want it to go away, but surely know that it doesn’t care what we think. It is determined to stay alive and well in the world. Our job is to outsmart it if possible.
I always knew that viruses have the ability to mutate to stay strong. I guess I just hoped that this one would not realize that it had that power. Wishful thinking has never been my strongest suit, but old habits die hard even though experience has taught me to know better. I suppose that what we humans have to do is be even more adaptable than the virus. Doing that is complicated by our superior ability to think. We don’t just automatically shift to one way of surviving like the more ignorant virus. We have to ponder our moves, and in the process we end up all over the place, challenging one another as to who is doing the right thing. So about half of us are vaccinated and willing to wear masks and half want nothing to do with the jab or coverings over the mouths. Our very human natures are exhibiting behaviors that have existed for centuries and caused all kinds of chaos in the process. It has only been when we came together in a spirit of cooperation that truly great things have occurred.
I am trying to use logic rather than emotion. I figure that all of those doctors who are vaccinating themselves and their family members would not be involved in a hoax or some devious desire to harm us all. If taking the vaccine and wearing masks is good enough for them, then it is good enough for me. I hear many reasons why others prefer to avoid the shots. Some worry about long term negative effects of which we are not yet aware. Others have medical conditions that preclude receiving the vaccines. There are those who eschew vaccines of every kind for religious reasons. Then I hear of those who simply believe that the Covid-19 virus is a hoax that has been politically motivated. Some even say that they do not want the vaccine because it will make Democrats look good.
I can accept the more personal and legitimate reasons like medical conditions, religious reasons, and even some wariness of the inoculation. What angers me are people who somehow think that some dark force is out to ruin us as a nation by inventing a medical emergency that is not real. I cannot understand how they can justify their beliefs when it would mean that the entire world is in on the conspiracy including virtually every doctor and nurse who has treated Covid patients. It is a bizarre theory that is hurting our effort to stop the virus in its tracks.
As for those who speak of their freedom of choice, I would submit that at the very least they should be willing to wear masks when in public for the sake of precaution. We stop at a red light even when nobody is coming in any direction. We wear our seatbelts when the roadway appears to be empty. We get medical checkups when we feel perfectly healthy. We participate in many community activities for the betterment of society, even when we may not want to do so. How many children would actually choose to go to school if we did not require them to do so? It makes sense that sometimes the common welfare demands us to forego our own wishes and bend just a bit to make sure that most of us are safe.
I am fully vaccinated. My reaction to the jab was minimal. I felt achy and a bit off for one day after my second dose. Since then I have not had a single negative symptom. I carry masks with me wherever I go, and while I totally hate the discomfort of wearing them, I do so lest I might be spreading the virus without symptoms. I don’t want to make somebody sick, especially anyone who has made the choice not to vaccinate. Do I deserve a medal for doing what I do? The answer is a firm, “No!” Doing what I believe to be proper is simply a matter of attempting to be kind. My mask reassures people that I am thinking of them.
The physics of wearing a mask is interesting. My mask protects others but does not protect me. My mask keeps my germs contained. When someone else wears a mask, they help to make sure that their germs do not get on me. When we both wear masks the environment is safer for both of us. It makes me very happy when I am in the presence of people decked out in their face coverings. It shows me that they care about me and the people around me. What could be more wonderful than that?
I would love to see everyone vaccinated, but know that such a thing may never happen. I actually worry a great deal about those who refuse because I have already seen individuals forego the opportunity to get the immunity who contracted the virus and died. It makes me anxious that so many are taking such great risks.
I also understand that those who cannot take the vaccine or those who have auto-immune diseases are living in a hellish kind of limbo until we can get the virus under better control. They are weary of being shut away because so many are unwilling to help them even in the simplest of ways like wearing a mask or being honest when they contract Covid-19. Everyone is entitled to privacy, but sometimes it is dangerous to keep vital information to ourselves.
I am still a cockeyed optimist. I think that we can increase the number of willing participants in the vaccination movement. I’d be happy to talk with anyone who has concerns. I’d like to think that more and more people will lovingly don their masks even if they don’t even think they work. We have the ability to cooperate and fool the virus, but we have to be a united team to do that. As long as there are places for Covid-19 to hide, it will keep bringing suffering and death to us. Let’s get smart. Let’s love a little. Let’s do this now!