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We need more than awareness

By Chris Quilpa

Awareness is a good start, in any issue or topic or concern.

There are topics of concern that you and I should be aware of, nowadays, whether you are a parent or a sibling, a teacher or a counselor, a health care professional or a mere ordinary citizen who wants to be informed about just anything under the sun.

Since we’re still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, that has claimed the lives of millions worldwide, and inundated most hospitals around the world, learning something about it helps us from contracting the virus, especially now with its Delta variant spreading at an alarming rate.

We can’t deny the fact that our health is in jeopardy because of this pandemic. All of us are vulnerable to it. That’s why we need to be aware of its lethality and the consequences it brings us. Our life turned upside down. We know that all of the world’s economy suffered from this pandemic. No country was spared from its transmission. We all sacrificed and suffered.

We commiserate with the victims and their families. The human toll was, indeed, unbelievable. The pandemic has brought a lot of misery and suffering to all. We have had quarantines and lockdowns. Wearing of masks was mandated. Social distancing was observed. But, there have been people who didn’t take the health officials and CDC’s health and safety protocols seriously. There was hesitancy for some as far as getting vaccinated is concerned. Others thought the virus was a hoax. The human loss and economic loss were so evident.

We learned that COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, but it wasn’t just an ordinary virus. It’s worse than a regular or seasonal flu, our medical professionals have stated. It can have all the symptoms of the seasonal flu, like body aches, headaches, fever, coughing/sneezing, difficulty breathing, or the absence of all symptoms — what we call asymptomatic.

The virus can also be spread by people who are asymptomatic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A research study, published in Science, May 25, 2021, led by Dr. Christian Drosten, of the Charite-Universitatsmedizin in Berlin, Germany, indicates that a minority group of mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 cases can be superspreaders of the virus and may be as infectious as those hospital patients with severe cases of COVID-19. They can trigger an outbreak.

In a few weeks, it’s back to school all over the country. The question is, are schools, students and teaching staff ready to get back to school in person? Are all schools’ employees fully vaccinated or are there some who were hesitant or didn’t get the vaccine when available? How about the older kids, 12 and above, were they all vaccinated? And will they continue to wear masks while in school? Will they observe social distancing, aside from washing their hands with soap and water regularly?

We are aware that there is misinformation disseminated in radio and television and other forms of social media. Fake news is there for the gullible, ignorant and uninformed citizenry. For whatever reason, these people spreading fake news are doing a disservice to the nation and to their countrymen and women.

It is more than awareness of the situation that matters. It’s good to question and have doubts. But, we have these health officials and professionals, and authorities who try their best to enlighten, educate and serve us, by sharing their expertise and scientific knowledge. We all have to get involved. We have to act. We have to do our part in ending this pandemic. We have to get vaccinated. We have to wear masks, if mandated, for our own health and welfare.

We hope and pray constantly for normalcy in our life. We have to have faith and hope that this pandemic will end. May God bless us all always!

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk and Portsmouth. He can be reached at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.