By Dan Spalding
If you haven’t realized, this dreadful pandemic has changed.
For many, it’s now become personal.
During the first wave and lockdown in March and April, I didn’t know anyone with the virus. I felt far removed, yet susceptible.
By the summer, I knew of a few cases and one distant death.
But in a matter of weeks, I’ve started hearing about friends and acquaintances struggling with the virus.
One longtime friend said she was shopping for holiday candles when she realized she had no sense of smell. She soon felt slammed by exhaustion and difficulty breathing and was hospitalized before being sent home, still struggling to breathe.
The constant coughing, she said, felt like shards of glass in her lungs.
She said she already lost a handful of friends to COVID-19. While slowly recovering, she now worries about the need to get back to work and new lingering health issues.
Another friend who lives in Nebraska was out for a run with his wife when he suddenly felt exhausted. Within days, he could barely walk across the room.
One family with ties to Warsaw lost three family members.
I’ve heard people rattle off names of friends and spouses, noting how some got it while others escaped it or were asymptomatic. The updates come in a matter-of-fact frankness that we never imagined would play out.
Kosciusko County’s Health Officer Dr. William Remington put the circumstances into perspective.
“This is no longer theoretical to a growing number of you,” Remington said earlier this week. “You’re feeling it. It’s palpable. You have anecdotal experiences of your own or loved ones. It’s the real deal.”
There are other differences as this second, bigger wave saturates more deeply into the community.
We’ve entered this odd period of a holiday season coinciding with the transition of the presidency.
I don’t expect any new federal changes in the approach to the pandemic until Jan. 20.
But I’d also like to think we’re past the politics of wearing a mask.
We’ll find out soon if this Thanksgiving Day holiday will become the super spreader holiday event of the year. That may likely dictate how we spend Christmas.
Indeed, if we want to make a difference and put a dent in this thriving virus, we need to do it ourselves.
A grassroots effort to limit interactions through New Year’s Day is in everybody’s best interest.
Hunker down for the holidays.
You can go about your life but do it more carefully. Wear a mask. Avoid crowds. Skip all parties. Buy gifts online. Visit the many quaint, quiet, less-traveled shops in the area. Rely more on carry-out.
Make this holiday different.
Spend time with family via Zoom. Call friends. Send a card. Read a book. Enjoy a quiet holiday with your household and hope that some sacrifice in these fleeting weeks of 2020 will mean a better 2021.
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Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.