Hey you, the pandemic isn’t over yet


Free Stock Media

Vaccines are starting to get distributed among individuals throughout the nation. Even with people getting vaccinated, we must remain vigilant and follow safety protocols.

There is a moment in Pixar’s 2008 film “WALL-E” that strikes me right now about the pandemic. The captain is giving the morning announcements, and he delivers this line:
“Welcome to day 255, 642 aboard the Axiom… And the ship’s log is showing that it’s the 700th anniversary of our five-year cruise.”
It’s a great line, but also deeply sobering that these people expected to be back on planet Earth in a short five years.
So I’d like to personally welcome you to day 750 – on the day this was written, April 7th – of California’s pandemic. It’s just past the one year mark since Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-33-20 that placed the state under stay-at-home orders.
But here’s the thing: We’re not done yet with COVID-19. We are making progress, but we’re not done. People seem to be forgetting this, and the last thing we want is for another spike in the numbers, sending us all scurrying back into our homes and apartments, grumbling about how tired we are of this.
I get it. I’m not writing this to say that everyone needs to go full-on lockdown again. Far from it.
Some good news first.
According to government data, California has administered 21 million vaccines. Out of 58 counties, 32 are in the moderate tier. A massive 80.5% of the population lives in those counties, which means that a majority of people are in a much better position. Overall, things are looking up for Californians.
Now, I can already hear a few of you saying, “Okay then, what’s the big deal? We’re close to being done?” or, “So what’s the bad news?”
To which I say, thanks for asking. Here’s the reality: as of April 7th, we’ve gone up in COVID-19 tests returning positive. A 0.4% increase, according to the Official California State Government Website. Sacramento county has gone up as well, which is a 0.2% increase.
The New York Times Coronavirus tracker reports a 19% increase over the past 14 days nationally. We’re becoming lax. Collectively, it’s like Americans have decided that the pandemic is no longer a problem.
I have friends and coworkers vacationing to places like Hawaii, Mexico, and all around the South, visiting places like Tennessee and Louisiana. People still fight over masks or don’t wear them correctly (it’s been a year, you should have figured this out by now). Worst of all, I’ve met people who believe that this is either a hoax or that the vaccine doesn’t work.
I’ll be the first to admit that this is anecdotal evidence, but it is still worth being alarmed about. What happened to the urgency of beating the coronavirus?
As a society, we are closing in on beating the pandemic. If this was a marathon, we’d be at mile 24 or 25 out of 26. We’ve hit a wall though and people seem to be dropping out of the race – like it’s a choice. The thing about this marathon is that you don’t actually stop running when you drop out. Instead, it gets longer. Society still needs to finish it and beat the pandemic. You can’t stop running.
Besides, why would you want to stop running? Don’t you want to go back to enjoying life and all it has to offer without being worried about a virus? I know I do.
At the end of the day, I don’t mean to be a huge downer about it, I just want us to be realistic. We’re close, but I don’t want us to miss our mark and get set back. I’ll even admit I’m being a bit selfish – rather than totally altruistic – in that I want you to do this because then I get to resume life.
The catch is that by us all working together to end this virus we can return to life like we want it to be. Getting the vaccine, wearing masks (properly!) and keeping yourself local are all easy ways to make sure we beat the pandemic.
I’ll wrap this up with the “WALL-E” analogy I started at the beginning. Yes we might be on year 700 of our 5 year cruise, but if we keep focused, we’ll be able to get off the spaceship and enjoy Earth again.