S. E. Williams | Executive Editor
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
I’ve never cared much for horror films, so it is really challenging for me to accept the reality of the explosive and deadly coronavirus as the nation is experiencing it today.
We are caught in a real-life horror story.
Some days the updates about the virus are so discouraging I want to do like others who are still burying their heads in the sand so they can pretend the devastation it is having on so many will never affect them and those they love; or, like those subscribed to some far-fetched conspiracy theory that the virus is not real and people are not dying in great numbers.
In reality, however, I, like probably many of you, am not afforded those luxuries because I have shed tears over loved ones lost to the disease and/or fervently prayed for their healing and the healing of others in my life who have contracted COVID-19 and survived.
It was clear to many, both experts and laymen, as far back as March, and again this summer, that COVID-19 in America was spiraling out of control. I considered it emblematic of the dysfunctional leadership at the federal level.
Now, despite current COVID-19 conditions, I am buoyed by the hope and promise of sane leadership with the incoming administration. Yet, the period between today and Jan. 20, when the president-elect will be sworn in, feels like forever, especially with one life now being lost to COVID-19 every 30 seconds. The reality is unconscionable.
There are 47 days between Dec. 4, 2020 and Jan. 20, 2021. If you figure 47 days times 24 hours per day times 60 minutes per hour and then divide the total by two—it is probable another 33,840 Americans will be dead, including many here in the inland region, before the Biden administration is sworn in.
By Dec. 4 a combined total of 2,647 souls were already lost to COVID-19 this year in the inland region—1,472 in Riverside County and 1,175 in San Bernardino County. It is also important to note there are experts who believe COVID-19 related deaths are currently under reported for any number of reasons, however this remains undetermined.
What is determined however is people of “the darker persuasion” whether Black, Brown or Indigenous along with the elderly and those with underlying conditions are dying in such great numbers it is obscene and has often left me wondering: where is the outrage? I believe I got my answer one month ago on Nov. 4 when people of all races turned their outrage to action at the polls. It is encouraging to know the cavalry is on its way, so to speak, but still disheartening to accept its arrival may be too late for so many people.
In the meantime, it is important we continue to do all we can to protect ourselves and others. The more we understand about the virus and how to protect our community including our loved ones, friends, neighbors, co-workers and essential workers, we are more empowered and less fearful.
Last week there was important information issued by the federal COVID-19 task force to local health officials. It provided very stark but important guidance and left nothing to the imagination. It read, in part:
“It must be made clear that if you are over 65 or have significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked due to the immediate risk to your health; you should have groceries and medications delivered.
If you are under 40, you need to assume you became infected during the Thanksgiving period if you gathered beyond your immediate household. Most likely, you will not have symptoms; however, you are dangerous to others and you must isolate away from anyone at increased risk for severe disease and get tested immediately.”
Adhering to these cautions in addition to the standing guidelines about face masks and social distancing coupled with any additional restrictions put in place in the coming weeks and months may be inconvenient in some instances, but they are certainly not hard.
Admittedly, it has been a tough year and although the new administration has not promised a panacea, we know their decision regarding the virus will be ruled by science.
We are facing so many challenges as a community including rising unemployment, the shuttering of small businesses, a stalling economy, housing and food insecurity, the best way to educate the children during the pandemic and the list goes on. However, all this pales in comparison to the loss of life. Our primary goal for the next 47 days is preserving life in the inland region by adhering to state and county guidelines. I invite you to join me in this effort. As my mother used to tell me when times were hard, “Baby, you just gotta’ keep living.” Let’s each do our part, so we are all here to celebrate on Jan. 20, 2021.
Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.
S. E. Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News.