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COVID-19 and Complacency

Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay

When the reality of COVID-19 sank in, I started a daily ritual. First, I check the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 map; then I look at my county public health’s website. I’ve done this religiously, that is until this Saturday. That day, I went to the 2020 opening of our farmer’s market. Along with veggies and mushrooms, I bought strawberries, blueberries, peaches and cherries. I came home and made carrot top pesto to have on our pizza. I made applesauce with the last of the winter apples. I did the laundry and went for a walk. It was a lovely day.

Except for wearing a mask and gloves at the farmer’s market, I didn’t think about coronavirus once. It was heavenly, but is this the first sign of complacency?

Merriam-Webster defines complacency as, “Self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies. When it comes to safety, complacency can be dangerous.” Was I complacent or did I just need a day when I wasn’t thinking about dead bodies, overworked health care workers and fields of food going to waste.

I don’t think I was being complacent, but I do think I was showing early signs of it. It makes sense to want a break from the pain, and I encourage each of us to find ways to ease the reality of COVID-19. We need a reprieve from the news and relentless horror. However, people are showing signs of isolation strain, and although I sympathize with them, we can’t let our guard down. We’ve been sheltering-in-place for roughly 50 days now, and we don’t want our efforts to go to waste.

I may want to hug my family, go for hikes with friends and sit in a restaurant. But these are first-world problems, and in fact aren’t really problems. I am not sitting in a food distribution line, on a ventilator or mourning the death of a loved one. All of my family is well, I can still hike, and get take-out food.

Now is not the time for complacency. We’ve done a good job of containment and flattening the curve. Now is the time to keep each others’ spirits up, keep our distance, and focus on staying healthy. We all want to make it to the bottom of the coronavirus curve.

If you want to read more about COVID-19 or other health-related issues, I am also blogging at hepmag.com.

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