By Emily Stonehouse
We’re in that time of year where we all need a little boost. Energy is low, prices are high, and infections are steadily climbing.
“‘Tis the season” we hear repeatedly. “It’s going around” we brush off when there’s a tickle in the throat, an unexpected sneeze.
While we have felt drained these past years from the constant talk of COVID-19, boosters, shots, vaccines; the reality of the world is that these things don’t just go away. We can’t turn our backs on germs.
James Matthews wrote about how COVID-19 is far from gone, with half of the local infection-related deaths having happened just over the past few weeks. The majority of those patients were over 70 years old.
We share a lot of content in this newspaper about people over the age of 70. They make up a huge demographic of our population. So many of the events, concerts, experiences, and volunteer-driven initiatives are run by folks over the age of 70.
But they are of course at a higher risk for infection. So are people with compromised immune systems, who are battling cancer, or who are pregnant.
While I think there’s value in not living in a world of fear, now that we have normalized the term “COVID-19”, now I believe we have the wherewithal to manage it.
The reason the term sunk down from a doomsday curse to an everyday nod is because a vaccine was created. People began to develop immunizations for the infection based on medicine, facts, and science, and as a result, bodies stopped piling up and the fear began to dwindle.
We stopped looking up daily COVID-19 numbers, and we started connecting with our friends again. As our knowledge of the virus expanded, so did our bubbles, and before long, things were back to normal. Or whatever new normal we had evolved into.
Normal enough that people were relieved, I suppose.
But we can’t forget. As we watch the numbers start to climb again, we can’t become numb to those figures.
Because as a reminder, those statistics are somebody’s parent, grandparent, friend, mentor.
Particularly in a small town. We know the faces, the names, the stories. And we can’t lose sight of that because we’re too scared to open our eyes to the reality of COVID-19 once again.
So here we are. Not necessarily back to the start, but living in a limbo of fear and fantasy; trying to look simultaneously forward and backwards with those rose coloured glasses to a time where “COVID-19” was nothing but a wisp in the wind.
The best thing we can all do is get vaccinated. Flu shots, COVID-19 boosters, whatever you can do, it makes a difference. Not just to yourself, but to the others around you who may still be living in a fear bigger than themselves.
We owe it to our hospital workers, to our immunocompromised friends, to our families, to those people who have become statistics.
This is the time of year when we give back. The time of year that we focus on food banks and toy drives and so many other wonderful things that make us all feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves.
And getting a little boost over the holidays is just one more way to say you care about our community.