This is how it works.
Someone carefully plans a little get-together, a chance to taste some semblance of “normalcy” in the middle of a weird, disheartening, nerve-wracking pandemic life.
“I’ve invited three couples over, so that’s only eight people. Everyone has been social-distancing, and each promised to check their temperature before coming over. Each couple brings their own food and drinks and even paper plates and carries their trash home. We’ll stay outside with plenty of room to spread out around the patio. Ideally, nobody will need to go to the bathroom, but I’ll have the hall bath scrubbed down and leave disinfectant and cleaning supplies in there so they can clean their way out. It’s perfect; COVID won’t have a chance to get anyone!”
Sounds safe, doesn’t it? To be clear, I made that up. However, it uses bits and pieces of different stories I’ve heard and read.
To no great surprise, such celebratory events don’t always turn out perfectly.
One of the invitees mentioned it to a friend, who took it upon himself to join the party, along with five other friends.
And / or …
Someone brought food to share with the others. Not wanting to hurt feelings, most everyone stuck their hands into the box to get some.
And / or …
It started to rain, and a majority decided it was worth taking the chance to move the party indoors.
And / or …
OK, you get the idea, but there’s something else.
You do not know who may be sick. In fact, a person can have the virus (as they can other diseases) without knowing it. Also, some people will ignore symptoms in hopes things get better. That’s built into our culture. Who among us hasn’t gone to work even though they may have a cough or runny nose? “It’s just an allergy,” they may say.
In addition to us tending to believe we’re not easily destroyed, the COVID-19 epidemic has been made much worse by leaders who have been unwilling to step up to the plate, make decisions and then enforce them.
They will not trust and follow the guidance of experts. Instead, actions and inactions are based on wishful thinking and, mostly, on what will make the “leader” look better. People don’t want to be told how to conduct themselves, so a spineless politician will not. He or she might “suggest” or even “encourage” but fails to force the issue. Many youngsters would never eat a vegetable if it were merely suggested they do so.
Neither Donald Trump nor Mike Pence nor the Republican congresspeople and governors and talking heads who still support them … none of them is responsible for the COVID-19 virus. Its origin and transmission to the world is not their fault.
The choices they made to ignore warnings and advisories – dating back to January – and to opt out of acting or responsibly instructing the American people … for that, they are to be held accountable.
It is 94 days until the general election. Vote and vote responsibly.