We’re still a good way away from shaking this pesky coronavirus, especially with new mutant offsprings shooting through its birth canal every day. Who knows what new adventures they might bring? So even as more U.S. citizens are rubbing their sore arms and experiencing a pleasure trove of other side-effects, we’re still being told to mask up and hunker down.
As our nation struggles for any sign of returning to normalcy, we’re led to believe that each new day is bringing new hope. But any hope is also tainted with the memories of the 529,000 fellow citizens who have thus far lost their excruciating battles, and for those who will continue to.
The COVID-19 death toll hits too close to home for one out of five Americans. One full year following the virus’s arrival from Wuhan, this is the number of us who have felt the sting of losing a relative or dear friend. The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, as the result of a recent poll, is cautioning, ‘it ain’t over yet.’ They believe we could very well be set for another surge similar to what followed the holiday season.
Due to more vaccines being administered, and people itching to get back to the lives they once led, guards are being let down. People aren’t as worried as they once were. In fact, they’re worried less now than they were prior to the holiday season, and that didn’t turn out so well.
Here’s where the tug-of-war is. Those people who are grieving the loss of a loved one are preaching the praises of remaining safe and complaining because it’s becoming more difficult to. Those who have not been affected don’t see things the same way, which equates to roughly four out of five.
Nettie Parks is still grieving the loss of her brother whose funeral she did not get to attend due to travel restrictions. She and her five sisters are planning a memorial once it’s safe to do so, and not one second sooner. “We didn’t have a chance to grieve. It’s almost like it happened yesterday for us. It’s still fresh,” she said. Her brother died in April.
Parks, 60, largely due to her age, chose retirement from her customer service job in Volusia County, Florida over her fear of workplace exposure. After suffering the loss of her only brother she is fearful of restrictions being lifted, especially to the degree as they have been in her native state.
“They’re letting their guard down and they shouldn’t. People are going to have to realize this thing is not going anywhere. It’s not over,” said Parks.
The poll further suggested that only three out of five Americans have concerns about themselves or their family members catching the virus. Until very recently this number stood at four out of ten.
But “it’s hard to conceptualize the true danger if you don’t know it personally,” said Dr. K. Luan Phan, psychiatry chief at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, Dr. K. Luan Phan, summarized the who worries and who doesn’t scenario be saying, “it’s hard to conceptualize the true danger if you don’t know it personally. That fear is most salient in them. They’re going to be a lot more cautious as businesses reopen and as schools start back.”
He reversed the coin by saying, “And without that first-hand experience, even people who heeded health officials’ pleas to stay masked and keep their distance are succumbing to pandemic fatigue because “fears tend to habituate.”
The poll found that Hispanics and African Americans, as is Parks, have lost twice as many relatives or close friends as White people, at a ratio of 30% versus 15%. Even with cases dropping, 43% of Black Americans remain on high alert, followed by 39% of the Hispanic population. White Americans came in at 25%.
Is it smoke and mirrors? Is Biden reveling in the glory that belongs to Trump for getting the vaccine research kicked into high gear? If so, what happens if the coronavirus and its young’uns decide to hold another party? Does Biden or his health officials who we rarely hear from have a plan B or are they even capable of looking that far ahead?