Your numbers are dropping here along the Gulf Coast, and we are ready to bid you adieu … forever this time. I know, I know. You have taken a little break before to “mutate” and come back with a vengeance. And, boy, did you. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting that. But even still, I think we know you too well now, and we have the tools to fight and beat you at your own game. I know you won’t go away completely, but you are not going to be the dominant force in our lives anymore.
And I guess you should be proud of yourself. If your goal was to destroy, damage and divide, then job well done. Mission accomplished.
You took lives, and many of your victims died alone, with no one holding their hands, gently rubbing their foreheads or telling them it was all going to be OK. And it wasn’t OK. What you did is not OK.
And those lives you took destroyed families who lost mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, the centers of someone’s universe. You took away lifelong friends and beloved co-workers. And I know you are not completely done. There are still people on ventilators right now fighting for their lives, their friends and families praying for miracles that may not come.
Loss of life is bad enough. But you didn’t stop there.
You have overwhelmed our health care systems and more importantly, our health care workers. Many of them have been burning the candle at both ends for nearly two years now. It’s just too much to ask of anyone. And now we are seeing the devastating effects of people putting off routine cancer and other health screenings because of you. Just collateral damage, I suppose?
Our kids have not had a normal school year in at least part of their last three grade levels. This year’s second-grade class doesn’t even know what a routine school day looks like despite the best efforts of our educators. It has been tough on all students, teachers and parents, but of course, the kids with the least resources have felt the consequences more, widening the gap between the haves and the have nots. Now we are starting to tread back into the waters of normality, with some area schools dropping mask requirements this week because of plummeting infection numbers. Which is wonderful news but will it last this time? Or is it just a brief respite before you find your way back? I am sure every parent and teacher will join me in screaming, “No, you are done!”
You have undermined our justice system. Our courts right here in Mobile are trying to play catch-up. As you might imagine it’s hard to panel a jury during a pandemic. Just 100 people showed up for jury duty even though 800 were summoned. Defendants have the right to a “speedy trial” and victims and/or their families cannot find closure because they are still waiting for justice to be served.
You shut down small businesses and jacked up supply chains and labor forces. There are still restaurants and retail shops on every street in America struggling to find workers and/or products.
I mean, is there really any industry you haven’t touched and adversely affected? It’s hard to think of one.
Did you stop there? No, of course not. You kept going.
One would think a pandemic would bring our country together, unite us against a common enemy. But nope, you managed to divide us even more than we already are.
Many people in this country have taken a “side” on just about everything you can possibly take a side on in regards to you. Are you real or not? Or, if you are real, are you as bad as everyone says you are? Were shutdowns really necessary? Are the vaccines lifesavers or unproven poison? Which treatments are the most effective or are any of them effective at all? Is Fauci a hero or buffoon? Was this virus a natural occurrence or was it born in a lab? Should masks and vaccines be mandated or should there be a mandate against mandates?
And I am sure I am forgetting something else we have been fighting about endlessly for the last 19 months. It’s enough to make one’s head explode!
I thought the last presidential election was going to be the most damaging event to familial relations and friendships in our lifetime, but congratulations, COVID, you did it! You managed to fracture those dynamics even more than battles between red and blue. Let the declarations begin on who refuses to come to Thanksgiving and/or Christmas because so-and-so is or isn’t vaccinated.
We were already a nation so torn apart, COVID. We really didn’t need any help from you.
I try to stay optimistic. Perhaps we will learn something from this crisis, from the havoc you have wreaked. Sometimes I think that lesson should be that we all need to just shut the f**k up about everything. Newsflash: None of us knows everything or has all of the answers. And we just need to start focusing on things that really matter, and not whatever cable news is trying to get us all worked up over on a daily basis.
We have always argued over things and debated issues in this country. This is not new. It’s sort of our thing, our brand. But we used to not absolutely despise each other over it. And I miss that. I don’t know if we will ever get back to that place.
But I do know one thing, COVID. Your work is done here. Go away.
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