Avoid too much, too soon — before it’s too late
Like a cicada emerging from what feels like years in a confining shell, we’re about to escape our imposed isolation, fly away, and begin making the familiar buzzing (which we wrongly attribute to “locusts”) that is the comforting musical underpinning of summer in Marion County.
But like a cicada molting from its covering, we must be careful not to become too eager to start our singing lest we, in our initially flightless, sopping-wet state, become a meal for a swooping airborne predator — in our case, COVID-19.
Our natural eagerness to get back to normal is a huge gamble. COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. It can’t be prevented. It can’t be cured. It hasn’t been contained. And it’s still as contagious and, for some, deadly as ever.
If we too quickly start doing what we always have done, we may find ourselves snatched up by the beak of a viral predator.
If so, damage we did to our economy by sheltering at home will have been all for naught. Shelter-at-home will have to be repeated with even more devastating effects than the disease it was designed to stave off.
Our newfound freedom is not absolute. We still should be limiting interactions with others to the greatest degree possible. Staying within a close circle of friends, neighbors, and relatives means you care not just about yourself but also about others in the community who could fall victim to infection as interactions among people from diverse areas increases.
We’ve all gone a bit stir-crazy these past few months, but we have to be especially careful of truly crazy notions, like needing to resume sports.
Jobs, absolutely. We desperately need to start producing instead of hanging around our mailboxes waiting for kited government checks that mortgage our future.
But athletics are for entertainment, not a vital societal function. And it isn’t exactly as if pro athletes and teams are hurting for money.
Crowds obviously are out. But so, too, should be teams that travel to other communities — unless the teams rename themselves the Typhoid Marys.
If we truly care about athletic competition, the Boys of Summer this year might best be sandlot teams with neighborhood competitions among athletes from the same community.
Using all available COVID-19 tests to check professional and collegiate athletes twice every five days, as has been suggested, would be almost as silly as using “extra” money saved from not having to bus to school to purchase a new luxury liner for sports and activities.
Paying for meals and real computers for students struggling to get by would seem a much higher priority, as would additional investment in how to do more than just send paperwork home with kids or tell them to do exercises on some generic web site.
We’re eager to see campers return to our county’s lakes, and we’re curious whether safety precautions really will be observed at community garage sales. But at least these are more than just entertainment, with monetary implications as well as social ones.
We’ve all sacrificed greatly in the past 2½ months. Let’s not blow it by not understanding that “the new normal” won’t be the same as the old normal.
— ERIC MEYER