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I’m Sick and Tired of Covid-19, Yet Here We Go Again

Seriously, we’re just going to let another wave wash over us?

Call it another wave, another painful lesson, another avoidable surge. However you characterize the situation, Covid-19 is — yet again — poised for a heartbreaking comeback. And again, it’s from a high level of existing infections: With boatloads of people infected across America, the rising tide of new cases in more than half of U.S. states [NYT | WSJ] threatens to lift all corners of the country to higher levels of transmission, followed by increasing numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the weeks to follow.

If this sounds eerily, frustratingly familiar it could be because it’s the third time journalists like me have channeled the experts to deliver the same basic warning. We said it in late spring, 2020, before a big and preventable summertime second wave. We said it in the fall, prior to the horrendous and preventable tsunami of winter cases and deaths.

Sadly, it bears repeating again. I’m not even going to bother the overworked, underappreciated scientists for a quote. After 15 months reporting on coronavirus science, I can tell you exactly what they would collectively say:

“If we don’t take serious action ASAP, it’s going to get bad again,” I say. “Really bad.”

Normally I just report. I don’t opine much, and I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever quoted myself. But here’s the thing:

I’m sick and tired of bothering the experts, who give graciously of their time to educate the public while they’re also trying to conduct research that helps keep us safe.

I’m sick and tired of writing the same damn Covid-19 cautions over and over.

I’m sick and tired of preaching to the choir, those who see mask-wearing during an airborne pandemic as the sort of polite thing you do to show you care about your fellow humans.

I’m sick and tired of shutdowns.

I’m sick and tired of avoiding friends and family.

I’m sick and tired of seeing schools close where bars are open.

I’m sick and tired of seeing retail employees forced to deal with callous or ill-informed people who won’t mask up because they’ve been told by some science-denying pundit that it’s not helpful or that it’s their right to ignore simple health precautions.

I’m sick and tired of seeing women leave the workforce en masse, giving up decades of gains.

I’m sick and tired of seeing Black and Brown people get hit by coronavirus infections and Covid-19 deaths at two to three times the rate of white people.

I’m sick and tired of nonexperts playing armchair scientist and presuming to know what thousands of real experts somehow can’t collectively fathom.

I’m sick and tired of variants already.

Perhaps most of all, I’m sick and tired of politicized arguments over whether we should fight hard against the third-leading cause of death — behind only heart disease and cancer — or just roll over and let it kill more people.

Surely you’re sick and tired of reading about it all. But that’s the story. And now, we have — yet again — two choices:

  1. Mask up, avoid crowds, distance sensibly, vaccinate, end this thing, and get our lives (and the economy) back to normal.
  2. Stick our heads in the sand and let this nasty bug bite us all in the ass again.

Your call. If you wear a mask and have been vaccinated or plan to be, thank you! If not, please consider putting yourself out just a little, not for your own good, but for your fellow Americans, who are hurting and really need your help right now—just for a while longer while we get the nation inoculated against this historic disease.

Independent health and science journalist, former editor-in-chief of LiveScience, writing about how we age and how to optimize your mind and body through time.

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