We’ve read the stories and seen the pictures – hundreds of spring breakers congregating on the beaches and in the bars in Florida. Partiers fill the bars in Charlotte, New York or other cities on a Saturday night. A group of runners posts photos of their latest group run, and when someone suggests too much togetherness they shake it off with a “haha, we’re always together anyway so what difference does it make?”
Well, the difference it makes is that those young people are the ones who are getting sick. A news release from Mecklenburg County Public Health indicated that nearly 50% of the 80 cases (at that time) in the county were people in the 20-39 age group, with another 33% in the 40-59 age group. Us oldsters – once again – appear to be the wise ones, at 18%. Huh.
I get that we live in an independent society, but people seem to be more concerned about their personal inconvenience than they do about making sure they don’t get sick or transmit a virus to others. I stood in line at the liquor store on Saturday, and no one in the line was maintaining the recommended distance. They were talking and laughing and carrying on, no one seemed to be concerned. I will give them credit though – they didn’t seem to be complaining and were nice to the clerks!
Friends returning just yesterday from several months in Italy remarked at the stark differences between the airport in Rome and JFK in New York. New York is currently the epicenter of contagion in the US, and only a fraction of the people were wearing protective gear and no one was maintaining distance. Granted, some of that may be because we were not/still are not properly prepared with adequate supplies (another contentious subject but not my bone today!), but mostly I think we (as a society) are just selfish and lazy. Italy has a strong sense of community and is taking it very seriously, and they have still been hit hard. Cause & effect, choice & consequence.
I live in a neighborhood where the majority of the residents are well into their 70s all the way to their 90s. And nearly all of them have some kind of health issue that puts them at risk. And most of them are being sensible and staying put. We make regular runs to the grocery store, but thankfully we have a fully stocked (except for toilet paper!) grocery store and a Walmart within sight of our neighborhood. We go early, get out quickly, come home and wash our hands and face. I’ve been keeping up my morning walks, and rarely see a soul.
For all we wring our hands at the stories in the news and on the internet, we don’t seem to be taking it seriously. And that’s going to make it harder on the people who have to take care of us when we do get sick. Those people are taking it seriously now, and we need to listen to them and do the right thing, instead of wondering if we have enough junk food and toilet paper or what’s going to happen to our summer vacation if the school year gets extended.