Lindsey Chastain MUG

In Jonathan Small’s editorial, he says it is time to reopen and rebuild our society. Small states the goal was just to slow the spread, not to eliminate all COVID-19 infections over a longer time frame. And while I agree with that statement, I don’t agree that we have achieved the goal.

In speaking with health care workers in several states, they all say the exact same thing, this virus is bad. They all agree that the measures taken have helped them to not be overrun, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop protective measures. Not being overrun is vastly different than not stretched to full potential. It just means they aren’t forced to make extremely tough decisions yet like who gets the ventilators.

In a USA Today article, Peter Marks, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, which oversees vaccines, was quoted as saying “it’s unfortunately not unlikely that we may see a second wave or even a third wave,” without a vaccine. And a vaccine is something we do not have yet.

Dr. Fauci, dubbed America’s doctor, says we aren’t ready. I have done extensive research on Dr. Fauci’s background and find that the constant theme is that he puts the health and safety of people above all else. I can find no reason to distrust what he says.

When I have left the house to continue to social distance while covering the news or make quick grocery store trips, I find that many are not taking the precautionary measures recommended. I have talked to people who are convinced this is a made up virus and none of it is true. I have talked to people who have various other reasons that they aren’t socially distancing or wearing masks, etc. including the feeling their liberties are being violated and that a higher power will take care of them.

These are valid opinions. I believe all opinions are valid if thought out and informed. It doesn’t matter if I disagree with those opinions. But one thing I hear constantly from people I have talked to is they feel like they are back in kindergarten waiting for the last kid to settle down and get in line so they can go out to recess.

The truth is we don’t have the testing capabilities we need yet to quickly process accurate tests. We don’t actually know the scope of how many are infected because of the lack of testing. We know almost nothing about immunity, and if those who have had it can be re-infected. We do not know how many people who are infected but asymptomatic. What we don’t know vastly outweighs what we do know.

I too, am looking forward to life returning to normal. But a return to normal to me means being able to gather with my family and friends and visit local businesses without fear or anxiety. It means having more knowledge about what we are facing and how to deal with it. It does not mean saying that we have managed to slow things down a little bit, so let’s just get back out there.

I think that approach will lead to disaster, more spreading of the virus, more pressure on the health care system, more deaths, and more lock downs and closures in the future.

If you want to pioneer that trail, go for it. I won’t stop you, but I also won’t be out there with you. Logic says, we aren’t ready. So, in the meantime, everyone please stay safe. Take precautions. Take extra precautions to protect against those that aren’t. And from now on, I won’t say I’m social distancing or quarantined. I will say I have sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from the lands. I just think it sounds better.

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E-mail lindsey.chastain@skiatookjournal.com

Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.