Are we living in alternate realities?

College football games launched in full force earlier this month with stadiums packed full of spectators and screaming fans. High school football games and volleyball games have been taking place without restriction for a month. And from the looks of it, Hamilton will have its Buttahatchee River Fall Fest. But Mule Day has been canceled. Do we have a shared sense of reality anymore?
The issue is that making policies that keep things open while mitigating against the spread of an infectious disease is hard. Lockdowns and shutdowns are not. They are copouts to policymaking, and they come with expensive costs. Shutting down local businesses has costs. Recent state testing scores show that keeping kids out of classrooms has costs. Canceling Mule Day has costs. We did all of this last year, and all the costs appear to have outweighed the benefits because nothing ever seemed to slow the spread. Nothing seems to have had any substantial effect--nothing until we got vaccines.
In interviews with state public health officers, shutdowns aren’t a part of their talking points. Precautions are. We have effective vaccines that will keep you out of the hospital, we have masks, we have handwashing, social distancing and common sense. Balancing these and getting a community to buy-in to them is an absolute challenge. Shutting things down is not.
Winfield City Schools and Marion County Schools are great examples of having to make and enforce policies in this pandemic while not having the luxury of closing their doors. And they’re doing great. They’re working with what they have.

At the end of the day, we all need to find a doctor we trust, ask them what’s best for our health, make rational decisions and we all need to start living in the same reality again.


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