This pandemic is playing tricks on my mind. More days than not, news reports have me scratching my head which may or may not be a symptom of COVID-19. Confusion is just another undiscovered side-effect of the disease. And no wonder people are confused. Even the symptoms of coronavirus fluctuate day to day.
A few months ago according to reports, it seemed only the elderly were at risk. After that announcement, there were outbreaks among 30 and 40-year-olds. At least the virus didn’t affect children. Medical experts spoke too soon and now children are contracting the disease faster than ever before.
Even the ever-changing number of active cases is confusing. Governor Baker’s new color-coded COVID map of hot-spot towns in Massachusetts seemed like a good idea the day it was unveiled to the public. But the day after it was published, the map was revised because the danger zones shifted to different towns. And the next day the map was revised again and again with no end in sight.
Testing for the virus seems extremely disorganized. In the beginning of the pandemic, you couldn’t get tested unless you exhibited all the symptoms of the disease. And even then, there were a lot of false positives and false negatives so testing became a moot point. Some people had the virus but didn’t know it because they had no symptoms. Other people had all the symptoms but tested negative for the virus.
The symptoms of the disease itself are confusing. Is it a respiratory disease? It seemed so in the beginning. But as time went on, the parameters of the disease widened to include heart problems and musculature weakening. People who recovered from the virus had symptoms reappear months later, seemingly unrelated to COVID-19 but attributed to it as a side-effect. The medical profession is doing their best fighting a disease that is completely new. Frustration seems to be another hidden side-effect of this disease.
The public is confused. The medical profession is confused. Even the governor seems confused. Is a mask mandate a law? Who enforces it? What if you have a medical exemption? Do you have to make your medical history public to the irate BJ’s Warehouse customer who is screaming at you inches from your face about the benefits of social distancing? Some experts are saying masks don’t really do much to prevent the disease. I’m a firm believer in “it’s better to be safe than sorry” but I’m not feeling safe anywhere I go lately.
Speaking of social distancing, is six-feet apart far enough to stop virus transmission? Some experts are now saying ten feet is safer. It’s okay to attend a crowded demonstration to advocate social change, but only ten people at a time can attend a church service. And whatever you do, don’t get caught singing or the community watchdogs will slap you with a fine. Sing a song unto the Lord, but do it in your own head. But if you want to chant “We need change now!” you can scream it to the high heavens with no repercussions. Who is the mastermind behind these new laws…excuse me… “mandates”.
Social gatherings pose their own set of problems. The number of people allowed to get together changes every week. Family members can attend functions but who determines who is a family member? Are the number of virus cases dropping, leveling off or spiking? The economy must open but Step One of Phase 3 is on hold indefinitely. Children must return to school, yet schools are closing days after opening for safety concerns. Sports are back but arenas are empty. The cardboard cut-outs in the good seats seem to be enjoying the games.
Without a comprehensive national strategy dealing with COVID-19, it is impossible to get the entire country on the same page. Every region of the United States is different, so a universal approach is unrealistic. That’s what the government tells us. Each state, each county, each town, needs a customized plan that works best for them. Anyone can see a patchwork plan to conquer the virus is not working. This country needs to take a hard-line approach to curtail this pandemic before it’s too late. What happened to “united we stand, divided we fall”? I don’t hear anyone chanting that anymore.