Are you over it?
I’ve heard the phrase, “I’m over it” or some variation of that on several occasions. I realize that sometimes it is said in a kind of jest — with plenty of true sentiment behind it. This pandemic is trying our patience.
I believe there is some complaisance around here because the number of cases in Brown County has remained low. That’s good news and I hope it stays that way.
I follow the news of COVID-19 in the state and nationally. Lately, the news has been that the states that “opened” early are experiencing alarming rates of infection. Several big cities in those areas have mandated face masks in public.
I saw a statement about face masks yesterday — the countries around the world where people wore masks on a regular basis, experienced a falling off of cases. They have that statistical curve that they were aiming for — at first cases rose to a high level and then started to decline.
We don’t have that in the United States. Our curve went up and is staying there. It’s not going down. And, it’s not because we do too many tests. It’s more likely because we “are over it” even though the virus is not over it.
In Minnesota, we have the voice of a nationally recognized and well-respected infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr. Michael Osterholm. A former state epidemiologist, he is currently the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Osterholm is frequently interviewed by Minnesota media. I hear him quite regularly speaking with Dave Lee on WCCO radio. He is also sought after by national media — you might see him on the nightly news or Sunday morning shows.
On Monday, NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed Dr. Osterholm about his latest research and insights on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Osterholm talked about this “over it” idea. He said “pandemic fatigue” is setting in, and we need to figure out how to live with this virus for quite a long time.
It’s evident that President Trump does not like the news that COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States. He’s said that we do too much testing and he wants that to slow down.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and one of the experts we have come to rely on for information, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday that testing will not slow down.
Dr. Fauci said, “To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. It's the opposite. We're going to be doing more testing, not less.”
You may be “over it,” but please don’t be so over it that you endanger other people. Practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands often.