Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, how are you choosing to honor those who served? Veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War are among the most vulnerable in our population with the coronavirus?
Are you out and about and making a statement by refusing to wear a mask? Do you claim not to have a mask or that masks are uncomfortable?
We know the virus is airborne, and the question of how long it remains so is up for debate. Are you aware of the number of diagnosed cases in your county? Let’s say it’s 300 plus as it is the county where I live. That means that 300 people plus all those with whom they have come in contact could be carrying the virus. We know that carriers who are asymptomatic can spread the virus. We know that testing is limited although we’ve been told that anyone who wants a test can get one. We hear advice on television that indicates we should call our doctors if we have symptoms (fever, coughing, tiredness). This assumes that we all have doctors. I do and I know how to access my physician; however, I know that many Americans don’t have a physician. What are they to do?
This virus is especially frightening not only to those veterans whom I’ve mentioned who are now considered elderly, but all of us in that category. And as we think about ourselves and our family members, we know that virtually all families and extended families have members with compromised immune systems: diabetes, cancer, asthma, heart disease. And many are unaware that they have a compromised immune system and are especially vulnerable and don’t know it.
As I tally the numbers, the sum just gets larger and larger. Go online- if you have the Internet- and read the New York Times feature on 1,000 American who have died of the coronavirus and whose descriptions were featured in the Sunday
edition. Your friends and family members could well be next in the 100,000 deaths we are close approaching in this country.
You have soap, yes? Wash your hands and arms periodically throughout the day. You have cloth napkins or a shirt you can spare, yes? Make a few masks for yourself and your family members. Use them and wash them, and don’t tell me you don’t know how to make a mask. No sewing is required: just cut or rip the cloth and make it fit your face. You made masks when you were a kid and played cops and robbers, yes?
So you tire of being housebound or confined in other ways? You’re feeling depressed? Join the crowd. Send me a few words telling me how you are feeling (one word up to a dozen), and I’ll use them in next week’s column. No need for your name or address and perhaps I can put together a free verse poem or two with your words.
We are all in this together, and the least you can do is wear a mask and wash your hands. Or do you prefer to see bodies rotting in the streets?
Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., a graduate of The Ohio State University, served as a community college president for 15 years in Kentucky, Texas, California, and Missouri before returning to Ohio to teach telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and to work with veterans. You may reach her at 937-778-3815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.