We’re as weary of COVID-19 as everyone else. The virus has handcuffed society and made 2020 a year we’d be glad to forget, but will never be able to.

We’re in the middle of a second (or third) wave of the virus’ effects. We’re seeing and reading reports of some of the same alarming happenings we saw in March and April, and some are even more dismaying. Mobile morgues have been established in Texas. Iowa reported a 50% positivity rate this week. The United States is approaching 11 million cases, 21% of the world’s total. The United States has 4% of the world’s population.

The United States will pass 250,000 COVID-19 deaths soon. A projection by world aggregator Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts 200,000 more deaths by March.

We can’t seem to figure out a way to co-exist with the virus. In some cases, we abandon caution and encourage sporting events, even with the possibility of outcomes like the one we saw when Notre Dame’s football team scored an upset victory, and fans flooded the field, so caught up in the moment they were giving no thought to social distancing or their own safety or anyone else’s.

The virus is playing havoc with court cases and nursing homes and law enforcement. Restaurants and bars have been a specific target of governmental regulations. Everyone has a reason to consider themselves an exemption from the rules and even if a majority does follow those rules, we’ve decided against anything punitive against those who do not.

We still have to be on guard. More than ever, a key cause of the virus spreading is small groups in homes. Those will be even more prevalent as the temperatures cool, and the temptations will be large to those who treasure their holiday traditions and gatherings.

That’s the depressing stuff. But there have been positives, and we have the capability to increase those.

Promising news has arrived about a potential vaccine. That alone doesn’t mean we’re out of the darkness, but there’s a light ahead. It may feel as though it will arrive with the speed of the Pony Express rather than Amtrak, but it will arrive, ultimately.

Even the most skeptical in the science community are now expressing hope.

And we can help make things more positive. Even as outdoor dining becomes impractical and indoor dining is prohibited, we can still use curbside service. We can order through the personal shopper services offered at some stores. The people filling those orders and hauling things to your car are an important part of our economy.

There will come a day when we’re no longer dreading opening Zoom. There will come a time when we can hug one another, a time when we can imbibe together, watch a movie or a play or a concert together again.

We’re closer than we’ve been for months. Let’s help one another get to the finish line.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan

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