To contain COVID, it’s wants vs. needs

    “I just want to get back to normal.” People say it all the time. It’s an appropriate feeling, but these are far from normal times. If we want to get back to normal, we must all look at our “wants” versus our “needs.”

    While our area has gone relatively unscathed by the pandemic, cases are continuing to rise and they will continue to do so as long as we go about our everyday lives as if there is nothing to worry about. Over the past week (as of Monday), Crawford County saw an increase from 33 total cases to 58, while Phelps County cases grew from 66 to 76. That one-week increase put Crawford County in the top 10 counties in the state’s for its percentage increase in positive COVID-19 tests. And of those top 10 counties, Crawford ranked first in the most new cases.
    That’s not something to ignore, especially with the start of school right around the corner. It’s likely that COVID-19 will be in our schools on the first day of classes. How our school leaders react to it will have a big impact on all of us.
    Every day that goes by increases the likelihood that we are going to have a serious coronavirus outbreak in our community—in a church, a local industry, a school, or one of our nursing homes. The more people in our community get it, the better chance there is of something like that happening.
    To reduce the chances of the vulnerable members of our community getting seriously sick of dying from COVID-19, we must all weigh our daily needs versus our daily wants and adjust our lifestyles accordingly. This is more than about wearing or not wearing a mask, it’s about reducing our potential exposure to this disease and thereby reducing the overall spread of it in our community.
    Back in the spring, we all made huge sacrifices to stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses and schools shut down when there were very few cases—far fewer than we have right now. But what are we doing now to slow down infections? As far as local governments are concerned, nothing.
    That doesn’t mean we all can’t do something.
    Think about every move you make during this pandemic and decide whether you need to do it, or you just want to do it. Do you need to go to the grocery store three times a week, or can you make just one trip and buy enough food for the entire week? Do you need to pick up your mail at the post office every day? Do you need to go inside a store when it offers curbside pickup? Can you do without a visit to a friend’s house when you can make a phone call? Do you need to attend church when it has a virtual service?
    As a community, we also need to be making those choices. Do we need to have large public events, or do we just want to have them? What will happen if we don’t have those events? And what could happen if we do?
    We will all get through this, but we must maintain a little patience and self-control until we do. There are plenty of things we all want to do, but we shouldn’t be doing them at the expense of putting ourselves, our family members, and the community at unnecessary risk.
    Stay safe. Stay healthy. And not for yourself, but for others, please wear a face covering when you are in public.