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OPINION

GOOD MORNING: Are you planning your "COVID's Over" party yet?

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerrie Whiteley/ Herald Democrat

Every day when I read the report that the county puts out about the status of COVID-19 in the county, I sigh. Sometimes it is a sigh of relief because there are no new deaths and the active case counts are going down. Sometimes it is a sigh of exasperation because there are new deaths or the numbers are climbing again.

Always in the back of my mind, there is a sigh that never even makes it out of my mouth. It is the one I am holding in for when this whole awful mess is over. It is for when I get that statement from the county that says everyone who wants the vaccine has had it and that by doing so we have cut the number of active cases in county to almost nil.

That sigh is waiting on a party.

I mean an all out, go around hugging everyone I know with a bear hug party. I think, no matter what time of year it happens, there should be the biggest bunch of fireworks ever and we should all gather in public places for tailgates or picnics or whatever we choose to call it. 

Medical facilities like hospitals, doctor's offices and care homes should hold open houses so we can all go in and hug the residents as though they were our very own grandparents or parents and we should be able to shake the hands of those who have protected our most vulnerable folks from this awful disease. 

And we should have teacher parades. They should get to ride of beautifully decorated floats while we all throw them roses or candy or even maybe gift cards. While we are at it, let's just put those kids on those floats too. I can't even imagine the stress those little ones, and the not so little ones, have had to endure during this whole crazy mess. They have had to worry with trying to keep up with what people their age have always been required to do and learn while coping with something that people their age have rarely ever had to cope with before. And I think even those who have struggled the most should be celebrated simply for staying the fight.

Someway or another, we should figure out a way to celebrate the parents who didn't give in and become day drinkers because their jobs went away right at the moment their children were confined at home with them. We should celebrate all of the parents who muddled through new math and old history and all of that grammar, especially since so many of them were so happy when they completed their education - however many years ago that might have been - that they would never have to diagram another sentence or solve for Z again. 

And I guess we should figure out also some way to celebrate the political and civic leaders who hung in there  with us all and did what they could to make sure everyone had at least an opportunity to get what they needed during the worst of all of this. Also, we should celebrate the religious leaders who helped us all walk forward through this even though most of them had never been trained in how to minister to their flocks via the internet or drive up or drive through services.

But before we can get to all of that party planning, we have to stay the course at hand. We have to make sure everyone who wants and needs the vaccine is signed up to get it and that the rest of us keep on keeping our distance, washing our hands, wearing our masks and refraining from large gatherings. And we have to keep doing those things, not only for ourselves and our families, but for our communities as well. 

A lot of times when a city is hit with a natural disaster there will be hashtags with that city and the word strong to remind people to hang in there. Considering the immense scope of this pandemic, I think we have to go with #humanracestrong until we can get these numbers down.