Another new normal as COVID implodes

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     We thought it was rough being secluded and sheltered early on during this pandemic earlier this spring. Now, things are 10 times worse…

     Public health experts, the CDC, national health officials, everyone is encouraging people to think about their actions of interaction right now as case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19 skyrocket.

     I’ve had this conversation with so many people lately… Back in April, we thought the pandemic would be over and done with by the summer. Then July hit and nothing seemed to change. At that time, we likely thought by the time fall rolled in, we’d be over it. Now, as winter approaches, we’re told to rethink how we plan to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with our loved ones, family, and friends.

     Our schools were forced to take drastic action and take learning online virtually. Businesses are allowing the public in by appointment only. Many are requiring the public wear a facemask upon entrance. Some restaurants and bars are either closing again or resorting to pick-up and carryout. Yet another impact to small-town businesses just as the holiday season approaches.

     I’ve said this to several people lately, bit I’m not sure how my mental and emotional health can handle becoming a hermit yet again. Having had a taste of freedom the last several months, it’ll be hard to revert back to a secluded lifestyle again.

     We’re seeing so many local residents’ lives taken due to COVID-19. It’s a sad affair…

     So what can be done?

     Wear your mask. It’s not just for your protection, but if it makes others feel more comfortable, what does it hurt? Try to limit your trips out of the house. As much as I want to drive into Cedar Rapids and peruse a bookstore or two, now is not the time. Thankfully our city library is still open. Try and limit those in which you associate with. Keep the health of others in mind, especially those most vulnerable. Wash your hands as often as possible. If you can’t wash your hands, use plenty of hand sanitizer.

     Think of it this way: We wear our seatbelts and follow the rules and laws of the road to protect ourselves and others. The same should be said and done under these circumstances surrounding the pandemic.

     And it’s not just the vulnerable population we need to worry about. Speaking with the CEO of Jones Regional Medical Center, our local healthcare officials are dealing with so much right now: extreme fatigue, worrying about contracting the virus, worrying about bringing it home to their loved ones. We need to keep COVID out of the hospitals, too.

     I’ll be the first to admit that going back to life in April and May was rough. I spent months not seeing my family. Video chat apps became my best friend. I ordered more books online over the course of a few months than I’ve purchased in a year. I single-handedly helped to financially support the adult beverage division.

     But if we don’t make smart decisions now, if we don’t put others before ourselves, things will continue to get out of hand and we’ll be in this “new normal” for many more months to come.


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