Jamala Rogers

I can hardly believe this country refuses to take the pandemic seriously. The coronavirus is raging across this country with no slow-down in sight. With more than 14 million cases, and deaths barreling past the 300,000 mark, there’s still no national coordinated plan to contain the virus.

In Missouri last week, the state hit an average of 4,000 cases a day. The Show-Me State has not been alone in busting daily records of coronavirus cases recently. The entire United States has essentially become one big hot spot.

A source at Barnes-Jewish Hospital confided in me that most of the beds in the intensive care unit are COVID cases. St. Louis County issued a statement that if you have the virus, you’re on your own to contact the people you may have exposed; they can no longer keep up with the speed of the cases.

According to the Center for Disease Control, most of the country is out of control, yet officials are half-ass implementing simple guidelines that could protect the public. 

Governors and mayors are leaving it up to the individual to do the right thing. Look at the ridiculous number of people who chose to fly to Grandma’s (or wherever) for the holidays. It’s time to stop the reckless behavior that puts one’s individual wants over the collective needs.

Nobody wants to be the bad guy or gal. Officials — elected or appointed — lack the courage to do what is necessary to quiet the COVID beast.  But this is not a popularity test. People keep dying who could be alive. At this rate, we can expect the pandemic to drag out for most of 2021.  

COVID-19 fatigue? Of course small businesses are dying to open. Of course kids want to go back to school. Of course theater-goers want to end their cabin fever. Of course churches want to welcome their congregations. We all want our pre-COVID world back. 

Wishing, hoping and ignoring facts are not the solutions. The science must dominate if we are to successfully conquer the pandemic and restore some modicum of normalcy to our lives.

We shouldn’t expect any leadership from the current president. He hardly mentions the pandemic anymore except to take credit for the vaccine. His events are super spreaders. He is unapologetic for his lack of leadership on a pandemic that has taken the lives of too many Americans. 

Conspiracy to commit murder should be added to his list of criminal charges once he is dragged out of office. 

Speaking of vaccines, I haven’t come across anyone who feels comfortable in taking the vaccine. Maybe this is a Black thang and we definitely understand. Our relationship with U.S. medicine hasn’t been a pleasant one.

In order for the fast-tracked, corner-cuttin’ vaccine to be effective, experts say that 70 percent of the population would have to take it. So folks, this is going to be a long ride as we fight through misinformation, conspiracy theories and under-reporting. We have to encourage people to wear their masks, wash hands frequently, stay home if they can and social distance when they can’t stay at home.

It is up to us — the people with common sense who want to live — to both practice and enforce these simple measures. Let’s quiet the COVID beast.


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