“I’m so over COVID.” This seems to be an increasingly common refrain as summer winds to its end. Some have gone so far as to say “if I get it, I get it, I’m going back to life as usual!” I understand completely. We are all tired of wearing masks, avoiding crowded places, washing our hands incessantly, and constantly worrying that we might have inadvertently picked up the virus anyway. What began in the spring as a uniquely terrifying situation has become daily drudgery, with no imminent end in sight.
To complicate matters, contradictory information is flowing freely from government agencies, health experts, and pundits. To top it all off, depending on which news channel you watch, you either hear that the federal government is our savior, or is the ultimate villain in the situation. It’s no wonder that folks have grown weary of it all.
That said, the fundamental issues have not changed. The virus remains active, is highly infectious, causes little harm to the majority of individuals but great harm to a few, and we currently have no way to stop it. The numbers are staggering. 25 million people have contracted the disease worldwide with 850,000 documented deaths from it. In the U.S., more than 6 million have been infected, with nearly 200,000 dying from their infection. In Indiana, more than one million have been tested for the coronavirus with nearly 100,000 testing positive and more than 3,000 succumbing to the disease. Perhaps more alarming is the rate of increase. Worldwide, nearly 250,000 people are newly diagnosed each day. In the U.S. we are stable at 42,000 per day, after reaching a peak of 70,000 just a month ago. In Indiana, we average 900 new infections per day, with five to ten of those occurring in Hancock County.
If these statistics seem alarming, they are. Few people alive today can recall global experiences of this nature, thus the circumstance is unique for almost all of us, and we should be distressed. That said, we have a much better understanding of the disease today than we did six months ago. In addition, while the incidence of infections is much higher than in the spring, the impact (hospitalizations and deaths), has not changed commensurately.
At the end of the day, it is appropriate to be cautious. It makes sense to practice easy preventive actions like wearing our mask, washing our hands, and watching our distance. It is also appropriate to live our lives, to engage in our work, to care for our friends and family, and to engage in the world as much as we can. COVID-19 is just a season. It will pass, or more likely, we will adapt to it and carry on with life.
I am optimistic about the future and cannot imagine another place I would rather be during this ongoing “adventure”!
All the Best