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David Carroll’s News and Notes: COVID Has Been a Life Changer

David Carroll

When future generations study our battle with COVID-19, there will be a lot of head scratching.

“Hold on,” they will say. “Are you telling me that this great nation, the one that joined hands in solidarity through two World Wars and a terrorist attack, was divided over a pandemic that killed more than a million of its citizens?”

The answer will be, “Yes, that’s exactly what happened.”

Their studies will show that our nation’s leadership didn’t take it seriously at first, then eventually did. This was followed by more zig-zagging. For a while, we listened to the nation’s medical experts, but later they were portrayed as political villains. The president held political rallies with no masks at the peak of the pandemic. One of his former opponents who had become an ally attended one such rally, got sick and died of COVID. The president himself got COVID, and in his words, “almost became one of the diers.”

The same president proudly rushed vaccines into America’s pharmacies, touting it as a great achievement, only for many of his supporters to shun it, calling it “the devil’s jab.”

The president’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, committed the apparently unpardonable sin of not being 100% correct in all of his assessments about a mystery virus. He took the blame for recommending caution, vaccines, hand washing, and temporary closings of businesses and schools. Half of the nation jeered and ignored him as hospitals and morgues filled to capacity. Some of the most vocal media personalities who criticized Dr. Fauci’s recommendations got sick and died of COVID. The historians of tomorrow will gather these facts, and try to figure out why so many Americans were signing their own death warrants.

“Oh,” they will say, “Now I get it, many Americans stopped getting information from valid news sources. Instead they were fed an endless stream of anger-tainment by channels that profited from spreading outrage. And then they went on social media, where anyone with a laptop could pose as a medical expert, and people believed them. It all makes sense now.”

As for Dr. Fauci, isn’t it amazing that the guy who served under 7 presidents, won numerous awards, and is credited for saving 20 million lives with his AIDS research is the same guy who some accuse of trying to kill us all? If that’s true, why did he wait until he was in his 80s, and why didn’t he finish the job when he had us on the ropes?

While it appears the worst is over, COVID may never really go away. Recent numbers show an increase in cases and hospitalizations, and more are expected later this year. An updated vaccine to ward off the latest variant is in the works, and as always, I’ll be first in line. Knock on wood, science has gotten me this far.

We all have the scars of the pandemic. We’ve lost loved ones. Some of us are still battling “long COVID” symptoms that settled in and haven’t dissipated.

I have friends who don’t go out in public nearly as much as they used to. Some still wear masks, and occasionally have to deal with hecklers who refer to the coverings as “face diapers.”

Many of us don’t go to supermarkets or dine at restaurants any more. We let them deliver the goods to us. Some of us work from home, rarely starting the car. A walk to the mailbox is the daily commute. We are still paying higher prices due to a weakened supply chain caused by COVID (or sheer corporate greed).

We dress up less. We watch more movies at home, and fewer in theaters. We don’t just randomly shake hands or hug folks. We have adopted new hobbies, or revisited old ones. We keep more toilet paper on hand than we once did.

“Help wanted” signs are still everywhere, especially at health care facilities. Some children are still learning the social skills that used to come naturally.

If there is a silver lining, it is this: We now place less value on our careers, and more on family and relationships. That’s what really matters.