Of all the illnesses that have spread in my lifetime, COVID-19 wins the most confusing award.
People have been receiving mixed messages from the very beginning of this pandemic and the madness still continues.
For a while, we were told not to leave our homes for any reason, unless it was absolutely essential. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I hear essential, I begin to think of things I, literally, cannot live without.
When coronavirus first put Mississippi under a Shelter-In-Place order, the list of essential businesses outweighed the nonessential businesses, and it felt almost comical.
No business is non-essential to those who rely on its paycheck. However, when we’re talking about a life-or-death type of disease, I expected the list to be much, much smaller.
After people were staying home, then some were being told perhaps it would be better to be more exposed to strengthen their immune systems.
Then, it seemed that was wrong and everyone was told to live their life as normal, but to clean everything they come in contact with on top of washing their hands and regular use of hand sanitizer.
Articles came out stating how long the virus could live on various types of surfaces and for how many hours or days. Then, other articles came out later stating the virus doesn’t live on surfaces quite like we thought and not to worry so much about that.
We were told people who tested positive for COVID-19 showed three specific symptoms, but now we are told people can have a variety of symptoms or even be asymptomatic.
Churches were told they could not meet for services during the same time liquor stores were open for business.
Some reports have come out saying masks are useless and others say they are helping to save lives.
Many restaurants locked their doors in the beginning and only served curbside orders for several weeks. Now, in the peak of our virus, people are back to eating indoors, with some limitations.
Casinos are open, but movie theaters are not. Why do we feel we can practice social distancing while eating and gambling, but not while we sit and watch a movie?
Schools closed as the number of coronavirus cases began to increase. But now, when we’re at our highest peak of cases yet, schools are finalizing their reopening plans.
Some schools are choosing to not hold sports this fall and others are opting to go forward with holding sports.
Is it any wonder people are conflicted? Does it come as a surprise to anyone how divided peoples’ opinions and viewpoints are?
Perhaps we weren’t taking as seriously as we should have been in those first weeks, or have we been overly cautious the entire time?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what to believe.
The only thing I know for sure is if my government, be it on a local, state or federal level, tells me to do something, I am going to listen and follow their instructions.
People complained about seat belt laws, too. I remember the arguments against them, claiming they were pointless or could potentially cause more harm in the event of a wreck. Now, many years later with data to prove it, it is clear seat belts, in fact, do save lives.
I don’t care for wearing a mask. Like seat belts, they aren’t particularly comfortable and in my case, they fog up my glasses unless I get the wire pressed down perfectly on my face. But so long as my government tells me I need to wear one in public, that’s what I’m going to do.
Maybe wearing a mask isn’t helping you, but it certainly isn’t hurting you either.
Just wear a mask.
Catherine Kirk is managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.