Everyone likes being right, me more than most. But I sincerely hope I’m wrong about where we are headed regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
I want this to be over as much as anyone. I want school and pro sports back in session. I want businesses to flourish. I want worry-free trips to restaurants, movie theaters and concert venues. More than anything, I want an end to the fear, pain and suffering of so many.
But I couldn’t be more pessimistic or disappointed about where we are and where we are headed as a nation, having surpassed 50,000 positive tests in one day for the first time on Wednesday and then repeating the feat on Thursday and Friday, triple the numbers from a month ago, with 36 or so states trending decidedly in the wrong direction.
This, four to six weeks after most everyone began declaring the crisis over and resuming as many normal activities as possible. Of course, a lot of states have had to reverse course on reopenings and other policies — even Texas made masks mandatory as of Friday, though that only brings to 19 the number of states that require facial coverings in public.
Feel free to complain about masks. They are uncomfortable and inconvenient. Just put them on when you leave your house. They have been proven to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and they also show everyone else that, regardless of how you feel about the masks, you care about your fellow citizens.
Remember when we were pledging that we were all in this together? Both sides of the political aisle have taken every opportunity to turn this into yet another partisan divide. Like everything else, it’s us vs. them, red vs. blue, elephant vs. donkey, R vs. D.
Everyone, of course, wants to pin blame. That’s what we do and we’re really good at. President Trump takes the most heat — and, without even touching on policy, he could’ve been a tremendous help simply by strapping on a mask and setting an example — but he isn’t the only one being routinely ripped, from elected officials at all levels to medical experts to commentators.
Perhaps, though, we the people should look in the mirror. (For those under 30, take a selfie and look at yourself in your iPhone). Some personal accountability is needed.
We pulled together, stayed home, somewhat flattened the curve and then decided we were tired of the tremendous sacrifice and declared victory. Masks off, back to the bars and beaches.
Yes, our leaders deserve blame. So do Americans in general.
Florida is a disaster. Texas, too. The entire South is going in the wrong direction. And places that were in good shape — think California and Arizona, among others — have seen massive increases in cases.
The worldwide leader with one-fourth of the world’s coronavirus cases and deaths, the United States has had more than 550,000 positive tests over the past two weeks alone, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That‘s about five times the number for all of Europe over that span if you throw out Russia, three-quarters of which is in Asia. No wonder no one wants us traveling to their countries.
Is Maryland doing pretty well right now? Absolutely. We reside in one of some 14 states that appear to still be in decent shape (although the health department reported more than 500 cases on both Thursday and Friday after being below that number for two weeks). Those who were crushing Gov. Larry Hogan for putting in place onerous restrictions and being too slow in lifting them probably should credit him for where the state has been on the coronavirus curve.
Where we’ll be after the Fourth of July weekend remains to be seen.
According to Carroll County Health Department data, our county saw more positive tests in the community through Thursday than in any week since May. Is that an anomaly? The result of more testing? Or the beginning of a trend?
Based on the increased travel to other parts of the country where COVID-19 is raging — my family included — I’m worried it’s the latter. And that our state is headed back to April/May levels of case numbers. And that our country is headed toward Dr. Anthony Fauci’s predicted 100,000 cases per day.
As previously stated, I hope I’m wrong.
Bob Blubaugh is the editor of the Carroll County Times. His column appears Sundays. Email him at email@example.com.