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To Those Saying They're 'Done' With COVID Safety Measures

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“I’m done. I’m done with COVID … It’s not real anymore.” – Writer and commentator Bari Weiss on “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

I hate wearing face masks.

I hate that in order to hang out with friends indoors, we all need negative COVID tests as well as to wear masks and remain physically distanced from one another.

I hate that I don’t feel like it’s safe to go to the movies and share a bucket of popcorn with my pal Gayle.

I hate that I don’t feel comfortable right now eating in restaurants.

I hate having to regularly swirl little Q-tips inside my nostrils.

I hate the fear that has enveloped us, the helplessness.

Like everybody else, I can’t wait for COVID to “be over.” Commentator Bari Weiss recently complained about the fact that, even after getting vaccinated and doing everything she was supposed to do to responsibly keep COVID at bay, it doesn’t seem like our coronavirus vigilance will ever end. She referred to America’s COVID protocols and school closures as measures that will “be remembered by the younger generation as a catastrophic moral crime.” A moral crime.

Imagine, for just a second, that we are NEVER going to be done with COVID. Imagine that our lives have been permanently altered and that we’re not going to return to the way we lived in 2019. How frustrated would Weiss feel then? How frustrated would anyone feel?

For those of us – myself included – who have been diagnosed with an incurable chronic illness, we will never be able to go back to our so-called “normal” lives. We can’t just say, “I’m done” and have our illnesses – and their constellation of symptoms – magically disappear, and we are exhausted by our illnesses all the time.

From the day I was told I had MS, I quickly learned that my life had to involuntarily change. Multiple sclerosis damage to my brain took away my ability to withstand heat and humidity without getting sick. It stripped me of my previously “normal” level of energy. It sabotaged my short-term memory and my ability to concentrate for long periods of time. While on many days I’m ready to declare myself finished with all things MS, the disease doesn’t give a damn what I think. And neither does COVID.

When I hear otherwise healthy people complain about how much COVID precautions have ruined their lives – how they want to burn their face masks in despair, how they long to sit shoulder-to-shoulder in packed sports arenas with bare-faced fans, how they want their kids to be in school regardless of the highly-contagious Omicron – I become incredibly peeved.

If everyone around me tosses their masks, stops testing for COVID, and ceases social distancing because they’re simply fed up, where does that leave people who are vulnerable to COVID, even after getting vaccinated and boosted? For those of us who can’t just say, “I’m done” with our chronic diseases, we beg you not to just abandon coronavirus safety protocols until Omicron cases plummet and until health officials say it’s safe to be unmasked and to ditch social distancing.

I know people are hurting in the wake of COVID safety protocols. I’ve had three college-aged children and taught college to some anxious students during this COVID period, plus I have three nephews who have been in elementary, middle, and high school since the beginning of the pandemic. I see, hear, and read stories about loneliness and mental anguish, about stunted emotional growth and missed milestones all due to COVID measures. It is a nightmare, all of it.

I wish there was a way for EVERYBODY to collectively say, “I’m done” with COVID, and for it to become true. There are those who are anxious to treat COVID like the flu, for which we don’t close down schools, businesses, and commerce. But COVID is still more lethal than the flu. Thousands are still dying from COVID each week. We are not there yet. When we get to the point where COVID is largely contained and the nation’s health officials say it’s safe, let’s have a celebration. A big one. Without masks.

Just remember that I – and others with chronic illnesses – will still be walking around with our respective, incurable ailments, even though we likely were “done” with them the moment we were diagnosed.

Getty image by SDI Productions.

Originally published: February 9, 2022
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