I Am Over It

I am over it.

We worked together because we thought the trail would benefit many people, and because it had much to offer to our community. Some people opposed the trail for their own reasons, but whether you liked or disliked the trail, it was from your perspective, and not because social media pages directed your thoughts.
I am also over COVID and wish we all could be over COVID for the same reasons. We are over tetanus. We step on a rusty nail and, if vaccinated with the tetanus shot, we are ok and, if our shot isn’t current, we quickly get another,
We are over smallpox, which once killed 30% of its victims, because most of us were required to get the smallpox vaccine.
But because of political spin and social media interpretations, we are not effectively over COVID.
We know COVID is still around because we all know people who recently have had it. We know people who became severely ill from the virus and, unless you are extremely fortunate, you know someone who died from it.
We know COVID can have long lasting and sometimes devastating effects, but we now know how to manage it effectively, as recently happened during an outbreak at a local nursing home.  Three years ago, when we did not know much about COVID, this could have been fatal to patients and staff. However, in this present-day case, nursing home residents who tested positive were quickly isolated, and they were assisted by staff who were masked and otherwise protected. Through these preventive measures, combined with testing, mandatory masking for visitors, and high numbers of vaccinated staff and residents, the facility stopped COVID’s spread, and the residents survived the outbreak.
Now if I were to suggest we use the same tactics to keep the community safe from COVID, I am sure there would be major opposition from some.
Social media and political opinions, putting their spin on factual events, get in our way. We have learned much about COVID, but unfortunately, if people want to believe differently, there is plenty of information on social media that can reinforce whatever one chooses to believe. And, unfortunately, much of this information is inaccurate, misleading, and not scientifically based. We have better treatment options, and we know how to stop the spread quickly. However, social media spreads harmful myths that endanger believers’ health as well as their communities.
Just recently I spoke to a friend whose young adult daughter had developed type one diabetes when very young. A few months ago, his adult son was also diagnosed with diabetes. He believed his son became diabetic because he was required to take the COVID vaccine before international travel. There is no scientific evidence that supports this possibility. The father’s diagnosis was based on misinformation obtained from social media and his personal distrust of the vaccine. After a discussion in which we both listened carefully, thoughtfully, and respectfully, my friend thought he shouldn’t blame the vaccine without evidence to support his opinion. This was a major breakthrough.
Why can’t we understand that social media may be reinforcing what we want to believe rather than what the facts are?

Why do we label someone politically and miss the opportunity to share discussions that may lead to common ground?
Why can’t we respect COVID and still “be over it?”

Joe Smith resides in Mill Creek township, is retired from the insurance industry, serves on a number of nonprofit boards and is a member of Let’s end COVID!
Published: 4/22/23

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