Now is not the time to get lax with social distancing

Published 2:59 pm Friday, June 12, 2020

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Since March we have heard much about social distancing — stay at least six feet from the next person. Coronavirus has forced us all to make choices that are far from ideal. Our individual, in-the-moment responses to this rapidly evolving crisis may not have been perfect. But we can all now take personal responsibility for mitigating our contribution to coronavirus’s spread.
Social distancing has changed the way we do church, has altered plans to eat out, closed schools and made graduation in many instances, virtual. Even, some doctor visits are virtual.
However, there are some things and some people that have refused to change.
The Elizabethton Car Show is one place that people still enjoy their time together. Few wear masks to the Saturday evening event, and most are interacting much like they did in the past. They are friends and neighbors having a good time.
Another is Watauga Lake…the warm weather has brought people to the lake like no other spring season. They are boating, fishing, and are having a good time.
Many churches have re-opened and are having in-house services for the first time since March. Some people wear masks…some do not. Some churches are limiting the number allowed in the sanctuary at one time, thus holding two services. But, again people can be seen having a good time as they greet one another.
The coronavirus is not over, but we can be thankful that in Carter County we have had only 19 cases and one death. Presently, there are no active cases. But, we have to remind ourselves that the coronavirus is still with us, and it can sneak upon us and attack at anytime.
Though locally we have hardly been touched by the coronavirus, the country as a whole has been attacked ferociously. The United States now has more reported coronavirus cases than any other country; over three million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits; and hospitals, faced with staggering equipment shortages, have rationed care.
It is not the time to get unhinged and careless. We must still be responsible and careful. We owe it to ourselves. While young people, especially, may feel invincible, we are still very much at risk. Recent data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 20 percent of those hospitalized for COVID-19 have been 20 to 44 years old. According to the CDC, social distancing and limited face-to-face contact with others is the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as the virus can be spread within six feet.
When you don’t socially distance or wear face masks in public, you are directly disregarding science and risk further spreading the virus to others and endangering their lives.
Now is not the time to get reckless and lax with our behavior when we go out. We must be as careful now as we were six weeks ago.
The moment demands this of us, and to do anything less would prove catastrophic. We can’t change the past, and the future, too, is uncharted and unwieldy. But we can each social distance, wear a mask, and do our share today.

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