Life is starting up, colleges are heading back to a fall semester full of a lot of unknowns, but in my area life feels like it’s trying really hard to get back to our pre-pandemic lifestyles. I work at the same university that recently made headlines because of fighting before school even started and shoulder to shoulder dance sessions at bars.
Students will of course be students. I remember doing really dumb stuff when I was in undergrad at this same university. Its just part of the learning everyone has to do in life. But catching COVID-19 is one hard and potentially expensive lesson to learn.
Even now I’m not immune to wanting to have some sense of normalcy in my life. We had people over for a bbq this last weekend. What started off as just 6 people turned into 13 almost immediately (I blame my husband because he planned it). Thankfully, we have a decent sized backyard and we were able to join little cliques and some played games and others sat around and chatted while others stayed inside and talked. Was anyone wearing a mask, no. Did people have face masks? Actually yes. We had enough at the house for everyone in case anyone wanted one and some brought theirs. Do I regret hosting a bbq? Yes and No. I got to spend time with friends I haven’t seen in months. The number of active cases in my town is extremely low (for the time being). Although cases are rising, we have around 10 cases per 100,000 people.
We have a large number of students who come from Texas where they are a hot spot right now and we will see cases come in from other states. It’s an inevitability at this point that college towns around the globe will see a spike in the number of cases in town if they reopen.
In a single day, we double the number of total cases we’ve had over the whole pandemic because students brought it to town. I’m sure they went to bars, restaurants, shopping, etc. All those places are potential spread. Thankfully we do have a mask requirement in town forcing people to wear masks indoors but after this weekend’s videos that went viral of packed bars and zero masks, businesses might be losing their liquor licenses at the most severe but mostly likely, bars will be shutting down entirely again because of a single video. If even one person there had asymptommatic COVID, based on the packed size and ease of spread and lack of handwashing at bars (I mean what’s the point after some of the things I’ve seen) there could be dozens of cases because of a single bar visit. That bar can hold hundreds of people and is always shoulder to shoulder packed on weekends. If we have 2 dozen cases because of that visit, our public school system will go to virtual learning because of the rise in cases. If the public school system goes virtual I can almost guarantee the college will do likewise.
We can’t have normal back until we can get everyone on board that going through the hardships now means we can have normal quicker. If we’d all taken extreme measures in March (everyone masking, all restaurants shutdown, everyone wearing masks when having to buy groceries, etc.) we could be back to normal now. For the US, asking 350million people to all get on the same page is impossible. Maybe we were destined to still be in the throws of this pandemic from the beginning. Maybe regardless of who sat in the Oval Office mask wearing was going to become a political issue instead of a public health issue and protecting my fellow neighbor.
I grew up in a fairly christian household and the idea of protecting my neighbor was something I was taught consistently either at church or at home. That’s how I view wearing a mask. It isn’t for my safety so much as it is for that person I might transmit it to if I’m not showing symptoms. If they died, it would ultimately be on my hands because I didn’t do what I could to protect my neighbor. If they get sick and pass it their child or loved ones and they died, that would be on my hands as I didn’t do something so simple as wearing a mask to protect my neighbor.
The reality that that scenario could happen has kept me wearing a mask in public. I don’t complain. It isn’t comfortable in 90 degree heat with 50% humidity. But I just keep thinking to myself how uncomfortable a ventilator would be and a mask is temporary. Thankfully, I have a private office so I can take my mask off while I’m at my office.
I haven’t posted in a long time and just felt like dropping a little something something. I’m tired of hearing about COVID, I wish it would go away. I want to go on a normal vacation this year. I want to go celebrate my anniversary elsewhere, instead we’ll probably be celebrating at home with a steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and some wine doing a little Netflix and chill. But we’re all in this situation together and we’re all going through this pandemic together getting through it in our own ways. It isn’t going to disappear; the slow reality of the necessity of a vaccine grows everyday.
Stay safe, wear a mask, washing your hands. That’s all anyone can do. There are vaccine trials in the US that are looking for volunteers. Andrew Lloyd Weber has volunteered for a trial and recently posted his completion photo on IG. If you’re healthy and looking to do something more, you can volunteer through the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Disease (NIH) here. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-833-LIFE (5433) to inquiry about studies in your area. I’m not eligible for a vaccine trial because we’re actively trying to get pregnant. I would encourage anyone who wants to do more to start there. The more people who participate the more data we have and a better idea of how well the vaccine works and how safe the vaccine is we can have.