I could have written about the new SARS-CoV-2 strain, vaccines, or maybe even something non-COVID related for the first #sciencesayssunday of 2021.
I chose not to. Friends and family all around me are losing loved ones to COVID-19. Our family has lost loved ones too. Yet everyone moves along, business as usual. Those grieving are also expected to move along. Not to mention continue to worry about how they will protect themselves and those who remain highly vulnerable.
If you know that doing something could help save a life, prevent others from dying, would you do it?
Imani Barbarin wrote in ‘I Was Unprepared For 2020’:
“I knew people were comfortable watching disabled and elderly people die, but I was wholly unprepared with the joy with which people would leap into harm’s way under the belief that only the vulnerable would die.Also on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crutches_and_spice/
They partied in the face of people on their deathbeds. Stomping to the beat of a throbbing bass so powerful that their footprints left graves in the ground.”
Remember that we are all connected in this pandemic. Your infection with SARS-CoV-2, even if not lethal for you, means you’ve entered into a chain that leads to death for someone else. Some of us can’t help but be out, because we have to work, or get groceries, or take care of others. But others of us, do have a choice. When scientists, physicians, public health asks you to stay home, limit your interactions, wear a mask, etc, we do in hopes of breaking chains of transmission. Please help us. Every time you limit interactions with others, you decrease the chances of unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.
The new strain of SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be more transmissible, which from what I can gather, means we need to stay home, wear a mask, watch our distance, wash our hands, avoid indoor (especially poorly ventilated) spaces, even more so than before. Those of us who have a choice must do it for those who don’t, like essential workers, HCWs, the homeless and incarcerated, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations.
So, today I ask that we all pause and reflect on our actions, but above all, that we take at least a minute to honor those who have passed. It didn’t have to be this way, but we have the power to shape the way things play out moving forward.
It’s not often that I find myself exhausted at the start of a new year, but I am feeling exhausted at the start of 2021. Our family has worked so hard to do our part to break chains of transmission. We have stayed home. We have not traveled. We have limited interactions with others. When interacting, we have done so in safe ways, outdoors and masked. Yet, this virus feels like it’s closing in. It’s scary and daunting, and yes, overwhelming and exhausting.
I remain hopeful that these coming months will bring much needed reprieve, but for many – including our family – it is days, months, almost a year, too late.