Caronavirus: COVID isn't over

Lies, so many lies. The spread of misinformation has been a hallmark of the coronavirus pandemic. From the early days of chaos and confusion, to the settling sediment of a new normal, and even the present, there has been a steady stream of contrary views and “facts.”

When the disease entered our lives, a whole year ago, no one knew what was happening. Even doctors scrambled to find answers, looking into any viable option for relief or clarity. This then created the perfect climate for social media to take the reins of a public health crisis and utterly eradicated a hope for a straight answer.

The perfect example of this phenomenon was the shifting answers to the question, “how long can the virus remain on surfaces?” At first it was 30 minutes, then it was three days, now we’re more concerned about airborne transmission. 

It is this jumble of facts that has kept America at the top of the list of countries dealing with COVID-19 the worst. The large amount of people who “have seen something that said…” is not helping but is rather adding to the cycle of misinformation breeding more misinformation.

Of course, one could expect some degree of confusion in such a situation, but our leaders have repeatedly failed us by ignoring the warnings of medical professionals, and instead leaning into conspiracy and pseudoscience.

The warmer weather will kill it. It’s not spreading as fast as we thought, everything’s fine. The vaccine means we don’t have to socially distance or wear masks. These are the enemies that we have faced, and yet we have accepted them with open arms.

Unfortunately, we have been too ready to believe the easy lies than the hard truths, and we are on that same path now. 

With Texas ending its mask mandate, the call has been sent out across the country that COVID-19 is over. People are no longer afraid of the disease, even though it is still responsible for thousands of deaths across the world every day. 

The desire to return to normal life has boiled over, as the population, having spent a year in captivity, has no more patience for public health. This is understandable on almost every level yet must be challenged. 

If we open up too early, we become susceptible for relapses and spikes. Washington itself has gone through this, having to move back phases in response. Now in the midst of moving forward, this concern for the best possible path toward recovery jumps to the forefront.

Some news outlets and many politicians are in the business of capitalizing on goodwill and pent-up anxieties to push their agendas to the forefront. By selling lies that the world is back to normal these bad actors cash in politically, and in doing so they actually harm their communities and extend the problem. 

It is completely alright, to look to the future with optimism, but hope doesn’t mean abandoning all the steps society has taken to achieve the current state that has the ability to foster that hope. Now is the time to buckle down and focus on the ways that each of us can keep the country, and world, on the right track.

No one is going to like the next period of the pandemic’s progress. This may be the hardest phase, one where self-discipline is of the utmost importance to putting everything back to rights.

Please, do not listen to just your craving for movie theater popcorn and concerts, but instead listen to the cries of healthcare workers who need us to stand up and do our part.

Dawson Neely is a staff writer. Follow him on Twitter: @DawsonNeely. 

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