The Urgency to Fight the Pandemic is gone, but it’s far from over

People seem to have given up on the battle to defeat coronavirus. With the nation nearing nine months of battling a terrifying disease, a lack of care and the introduction of cold weather are making a pandemic that should have been over far worse.

With the United States averaging around 200,000 new cases daily and our leadership seemingly nowhere to be found, it appears as though many have simply shrugged their shoulders and accepted that this is our new reality. Ignorance is not always bliss, and if we don’t start taking this more seriously it will only become worse.

In November, health officials urged the nation not to travel in order to prevent the virus from spreading, stating that the ramifications of holiday travel have the potential to bring the pandemic to never before seen heights.

“The blip from Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet,” Dr. Anthony Facui, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases warned. “So we’re getting those staggering numbers of new cases and hospitalizations before we even see the full brunt of the Thanksgiving holiday”.

A simple walk downtown or even filling up at a gas station proves how Americans have given up or simply don’t care. People walking around without masks, not socially distancing, gathering in large crowds, all these factors have played into the pandemic becoming worse. 

The fact that the staggering number of cases has become far worse before we even receive data from Thanksgiving travel should be immediate cause for concern. Especially with more holidays right around the corner, by the end of the month our nation could be in even more dire straits.

“People are going indoors, they’re not minding the three W’s,” Secretary Alex Azar of the Health and Human services said Sunday. “Our advice is always the same. Wash your hands, watch your distance, wear face coverings”.

Sadly, it does not appear that people are following these simple rules. Those that complain of lockdowns, dining being shut down, and other restrictions need to start realizing that these policies would not be needed if everyone would do their part to combat the virus.

The other issue contributing to the growing cases is the lack of leadership. Since losing the election, President Donald J. Trump has done nothing to ensure Americans that an end is in sight. Unlike the empowering remarks of former President George W. Bush in the wake of 9/11, there have been no words of hope, no sympathy and no effort to rally the public. 

On top of this, the prospect of another coronavirus stimulus bill is seemingly dead in the water, as Democrats and Republicans refuse to cooperate, even while thousands of Americans are dying and the future of the economy is up in the air.

While many state governors and city mayors have attempted to fill the leadership void by continuing to pass measures to restrict the spread of the virus and spread words of comfort, many have failed to lead by example.

“Pass the potatoes, not COVID,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted. “Avoid travel, if you can”.

Hancock sent his tweet shortly before boarding a plane to visit family in Mississippi, causing instant backlash from critics for ignoring his own advice. If our leaders expect us to follow certain guidelines and give up important traditions to see our family, then why should the public?

“Our mayor has abandoned his city during one of the most critical times we needed leadership the most,” tweeted Tay Anderson, a member of Denver’s Board of Education.

Hancock is not the only prominent leader to go against his own advice. In early November, California Gov. Gavin Newsom was seen maskless at a dinner party in Napa, also directly contradicting his own advice of not going out and gathering in large crowds.

It’s a classic example of do as I say, not as I do. How can we expect to get through this pandemic if our leaders, whom many look to provide assurance and guidance, can’t even abide by policies that will help end the pandemic? If things continue this way, it will only get worse.

Ultimately, it is up to us, the citizens, to end this crisis. Wear a mask. Stay indoors. Practice social distancing. This is not a one person effort, and we can’t simply rely on legislation or our leaders to get us through this. We need to band together, not as disgruntled citizens tired of a never ending nightmare, but as Americans. Together we can beat this, through diligence and sacrifice, to come out stronger than ever before.

Jack Lewis can be reached by mail at [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAttack722