ColumnistsD Kevin McNeirEditor's ColumnOpinion

EDITOR’S COLUMN: Cries of ‘COVID Fatigue’ are Excuses for Our Impatience

As the days grow shorter and the heat of summer gives way to cooler fall temperatures, the U.S. has reached a disturbing milestone, six months after the coronavirus invaded our lives.

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Sept. 28 shows COVID-19 total cases and deaths in the U.S. have reached 7,115,046 and 204,756, respectively. As for the greater Washington area, coronavirus cases in the last week have dropped to their lowest level since mid-July. But there’s still reason to move with caution. In the DMV, as of Sept. 28, the total number of cases stands at 284,797 and 7,718 deaths.

But do not be fooled. While we may have believed the worst was behind us and that we can look forward to the fall season and a return to “normal,” the scientific community tells us just the opposite.

That said, it appears that schools will continue to operate in virtual mode, restaurants will remain limited to carry-out or outdoor service and the doors to churches and movie theaters will stay shuttered as small business owners hang on for dear life.

Despite the conflicting rhetoric issued nearly every day by Donald Trump and his minions, according to officials and health experts, infections will in all likelihood escalate this fall and winter forcing authorities to reverse course and tighten restrictions on public activities.

In fact, the “real” experts warn us that within the next several months, the U.S. will face a “twindemic” – that is, the confluence of two infectious disease outbreaks: influenza and COVID-19. They predict that with the frigid temperatures most of Americans will again endure during the winter that will result in more people staying indoors, often in large groups, conditions will be ripe for a “perfect storm.”

It’s understandable that many citizens have long grown frustrated after complying with local shutdown orders and other measures initiated as early as March in efforts to contain the virus that have not achieved the desired ends – driving down infections. The result has been what’s now referred to as “COVID fatigue.”

From my perspective, this “COVID fatigue” is little more than the behavior of people who have become accustomed to doing their own thing in a society which allows for the prevalence of instant gratification, giving excuses for their inability or refusal to follow CDC guidelines including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing whenever in public.

During my freshman year in college, while pledging Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., we were instructed to memorize a poem entitled, “Excuses.” Its message seems apropos in response to those who lament changes from the norm due to coronavirus, even saying they can’t take much more of this.

Excuses are monuments of nothing that lead to nowhere. Those who use these tools of incompetence are masters of nothing.

The reality we must all accept is things are going to get worse as the tandem of weather and noncompliance frustrate our hopes that the virus would have begun to wane after nearly seven months of unprecedented shutdowns and shuttering.

Further, ‘COVID fatigue,” which some may be using as an excuse to hit the local watering hole or to throw caution to the wind and join dangerously large groups at outdoor concerts and beaches, also represents a legitimate case – a public weariness that has overwhelmed hundreds of thousands after following months over six months of adhering to health guidelines.

So, what’s a person to do? While I’ve never asked my physician for a flu shot, this year I’m going to do it. Meanwhile, I’m going to follow the three S’s:

SELFISH because I want to stay out of the hospital during COVID-19 as getting both influenza and coronavirus could prove deadly.

SELFLESS because I want to prevent hospitals near me from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.

SCIENTIFIC because vaccinations boost the immune system.

May the “Force” and common sense be with you all!

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents, the native Detroiter engineered a transformation of The Miami Times resulting in its being named the NNPA’s “Publication of the Year” in 2011 – just one of several dozen industry-related awards he’s earned in his career. He currently serves as senior editor for The Washington Informer. There, in the heart of the U.S. Capitol, he displays a keen insight for developing front-page news as it unfolds within the greater Washington area, capturing the crucial facts and facets of today’s intriguing, political arena. He has degrees from The University of Michigan, Emory University and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2020, he received First Place for Weekly Newspaper, Commentary & Criticism, Society of Professional Journalists, Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter. Learn more about him at www.dkevinmcneir.com, Facebook – Kevin McNeir, Twitter - @mcneirdk, Linkedin – D. Kevin McNeir or email: mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com.

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