By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – Man, people are sick and tired of this Covid thing, hunh?!
I mean, I look back to a year ago: we were preparing to go back to school, many places were still locked down, most places had mask mandates, and here in Louisiana, bars were closed and restaurants operated at 50% capacity. We were still a few months away from a vaccine.
Today, hospitals are once again full, elective surgeries postponed, and case numbers are high and still climbing.
I’m in Louisiana and as of this writing there is no mask mandate. In my part of the state we are about 31% vaccinated. And compared to a year ago, people are living their lives once again: live music is back and concerts are packed with wall to wall people. Baseball is back, no more cardboard cutouts in the stands, and the stands are indeed filled with real people. Restaurants and stores are wide open. School is opening around the country without masks and without social distancing. Barack Obama is even having five hundred people out for his birthday party at Martha’s Vineyard! (Did you get your invite?!) He is, however, having a “Covid coordinator,” whatever that is.
So, what has changed? Our attitudes? Covid fatigue?
I think it is a little bit of all of that. I could be wrong, but I think most of us reject heavy government interference in our daily lives. Isn’t that the very foundation of our country? If I want to get a vaccine, it should be my private personal choice. Same with a mask. But wait, they say, you are endangering others by your personal choices! We have an obligation to public health! I don’t have all those moral answers.
But here is the thing that bothers me about the whole shebang. Covid-19 is caused by a virus. It’s science, basic science, and the whole thing should never have been politicized in the first place. Yes, both sides of the aisle manipulated this event for their own purposes. Everyone is guilty on that one. But for me, it is just science, and we have to deal with that now regardless of whether it is biological warfare, an accidental leak, or a natural evolution of the SARS virus. Whatever it is and wherever it came from, we have to deal with it.
What would we do differently here if this wasn’t so politically charged?
What would you do differently?
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.