It’s a gorgeous day outside this spring Saturday in New Bern. As I’ve said during my morally responsible socially distant walks around the neighborhood, it’s a gorgeous pandemic spring day.
Many downtown stores are reopening and more and more people are coming out of their houses, either just for a change of scenery if they are short on cash, or to spend some of their stimulus money if any of it is left after paying the rent or mortgage.
It’s easy to forget that COVID-19 is a new virus for which no one has an immunity, maybe not even those who have already had it.
It is easy to forget that COVID-19 is extremely contagious.
It is easy to forget that even if you are among the lucky majority whose COVID-19 symptoms are mild or even unnoticeable, you are still highly contagious.
It is easy to forget that as you go about your day, letting your guard down and venturing out into more and more crowded venues, you increase your chances of contracting the virus.
It is easy to forget that sick people, impaired people, and older people are the ones most likely to suffer more severe symptoms and make up the lion’s share of deaths directly and indirectly from the virus.
It is easy to forget that local hospitals have been preparing for the onslaught of COVID-19 patients but cutting back on staff because elective surgeries and non-essential services have been cut back.
It is easy to forget that local hospitals have limited capacity for COVID cases, despite their preparations.
It is easy to forget that, in some ways, we may be less prepared for a rekindling of the pandemic than we were at the beginning.
I had a conversation earlier today with a dear friend with whom I disagree.
She pointed out that she had doubts about the casualty figures being reported about the pandemic, saying that many, perhaps most of the deaths being reported could be attributed to other causes.
There’s no doubt about that. In fact that’s the point. People with health issues (including simply being older) are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
If they get sick, they will require hospitalization. Many of them will die. And if enough of them get sick, hospitals won’t be able to keep up.
It may be that COVID-19 becomes a seasonal disease, in which case it may well subside as the summer approaches and rekindle in the fall.
That may give scientists time to develop more effective treatments and maybe even a vaccine.
But don’t forget, even if it may be easy to — those treatments don’t exist now, nor does a vaccine.