It’s been frustrating watching our beloved community suffer through this COVID-19 challenge. Frustration that comes from watching people get sick, and some die, from a preventable disease.
I’m frustrated by my smart, loving friends who refuse to take simple precautions like wearing masks and keeping physically separated from others.
I don’t get it.
If it’s because you aren’t afraid — well then, do it for me please, because I am! I’m afraid for my family. I’m afraid for my coworkers and their families. I’m afraid for the business owners who may lose everything because we can’t do this thing right.
I cover my mouth and nose so I don’t inadvertently spray people with a disease I may be carrying. I don’t know for sure if I am or not, so I err on the side of caution and do the right thing by others.
This isn’t political, unless you decide to make it political.
It’s a virus, and it infects people in all parties — especially at parties! Don’t fall back on your personal freedoms line either — you do not have the personal right to spray me with your potentially virus laden vapor.
You wouldn’t point a loaded gun at your friend would you? No you wouldn’t, because you know that even if you’re careful, it just might go off and hurt them. Your respiratory tract is a potentially loaded weapon, holster it!
Please don’t tell me that you’re probably immune because you think you might have already had it. Maybe you did, but until you get the test to demonstrate that you have antibodies to COVID-19 in your blood, you can’t say you are immune, so put your mask on and back off, please.
You want to be a patriot? You want to be a good Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Agnostic? Then do the right thing for others. That’s the common message all faiths can agree on. That’s the example we should set for our kids. We can teach them to stand up for their rights in many ways, in many other battles, but right now, let’s fight this common enemy on a common front.
It’s just frustration now, but if we don’t get this done right, if we don’t bridge the gap between now and when effective vaccines are widely available (still months away for us regular folk), this could get a whole lot worse.
In 1918 and 1919 when over 500,000 Americans died from influenza, we didn’t know what viruses were or how to protect against them. But this isn’t influenza, it’s a new disease we are still learning about. And though many have escaped serious harm from their infection with COVID-19, we still don’t know what the long-term effects may be, or what it could morph into.
So, until we get access to those vaccines and effective treatments, by using common sense precautions like masking, distancing and good hand hygiene, we can get to the other side of this.
All of us — together.
I write this as your friend, your neighbor, and with the best interest of Yelm at heart.
JW Foster is the mayor of Yelm.