Listen up, good people. Unfortunately, we need to have a quick Come-to-Jesus refresher regarding acceptable behavior in the midst of a global pandemic.
I realize we’ve been in the throes of this madness for almost a year, which is a hell of a lot longer than most people anticipated we’d be in it a year ago. (Remember when we were all complaining at the idea of being shut down for one pay period? Good times.) Collective fatigue over all this bull kicked in at least half a year ago, so now we’re at the juncture where looking at one of those damn circles on the linoleum at Target asking us to walk one way down an aisle might just trigger us into a blind rage.
But COVID-19 still very much exists, and is like your job: If you wake up one morning and pretend like it isn’t a thing, bad things may happen in your world. Just like you want to continue being able to afford your mortgage and those Savage x Fenty sets, you want to do what you can to guard the health of yourself and those you love. That’s why I was displeased with the news out of Atlanta during NBA All-Star Weekend.
I realize that Georgia has always been the hard headed child of these United States when it comes to the virus, considering it completely opened up last summer at a time when everyone else was still batting down the hatches. But I’d hoped that we would be on some act-right as we climb well past 500,000 deaths nationwide.
No such luck – people made their way down for an event that even star players believed should have been canceled. Turns out a lot of people were happy to disregard the wishes of President Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Yes, it’s all a profound pain, but find solace in the fact that the pandemic is on the downslope. Three pharmaceutical companies have vaccines on deck and Americans have received nearly 100 million doses as of this writing. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also came with good news this week in the form of new guidelines regarding how vaccinated people should move – the biggest news is that fully vaccinated people can now congregate indoors without masks or social distancing.
I predict businesses will start setting up a vaccine card/identification station at their entrances, so you can now get turned away from the club for not having a vaccine card and the wrong shoes on. I currently have my first vaccine shot, and you can bet your Grubhub account password I’ll be laminating that card as soon as I’m done being laid up (or not) following my second shot later this month.
Vaccinated people can also visit unvaccinated people in a household without masks or social distancing if the unvaccinated are at low risk for the virus. This means that Gammy can now visit her single-digit-aged grandbabies without concern that one snot bubble from the latter will send the former to the big casino in the sky.
We’re still at a point where you need to belong in a specific category to qualify for a vaccine; even then, many who do qualify continue hitting F5 on their keyboard like it’s a job in an effort to get an appointment. Blame the bureaucratic clusterf— that is these United States for that.
So, before you get your vaccine and start licking subway poles just because, know that being vaccinated does not make you completely safe and impervious to carrying COVID-19. Being vaccinated also doesn’t give you carte blanche to run around maskless, potentially transmitting the virus to the countless folks who still aren’t, and can’t get, vaccinated yet.
This here is simply a friendly reminder that, while the end is on the horizon, we aren’t there just yet. Not only that, but a collective screwup at this point could still send us backwards in progress. It takes little more than a quick visit to mask-free parts of America to see that we aren’t all operating with the same level of fear or interest in controlling the virus, but if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you fit in a category of folks who have been disproportionately impacted by it. (Remember a year ago when folks were calling it the “white man’s disease?” Also good times.)
Don’t ease up on being responsible just yet. And for the sake of LeBron, don’t congregate en masse in Atlanta for the time being.
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at wafflecolored.com.
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.