We finally thought we could begin, slowly, to get back to ‘normal’…but now COVID is back, with a bang! Shame, shame on those Republican-led states in the South that opened so early. Now they’re paying the price. Look at Florida! They’re a joke. The Star Beacon has carried articles about the local rise in virus cases. We who advocated early opening are looking foolish.

Are you scared yet? You’re supposed to be. When fear dominates, we stop thinking clearly. We let ourselves be manipulated, we make foolish decisions.

I combed through the news articles for some sense of perspective, but in vain. Who is getting sick? Who is most at risk? Are there effective treatments? We need to know. Have deaths increased?  Elsewhere we learn that Ashtabula County reports no new deaths in 13 days. Before then, one every few days. Deaths have, pardon the expression, flatlined.

Now, the scandal out of Florida. Testing sites in many counties reported 100% positive results. How can this be? An investigative reporter discovered that in each case, positives were under 10% - confirming what we’ve heard, anecdotally, that medical people have been politicized or are pressured to inflate data to make things look worse. Politics? There are some in Florida who don’t want the Republican Convention to be held there. If there is a genuine uptick in cases, one CDC official correlates it with Northern vacationers who brought the disease with them. 

We’re being pressured to close schools. Almost every nation in the Western Hemisphere has sent children back to school with no ill effects. Five pediatricians stated that without hesitation they would send their children back to school with no special precautions taken. They are not ‘carriers’ and they have less than 1% infection rate. Nor are teachers at any greater risk. 

Educators tell us that during the lockdown the poorest, most disadvantaged kids lost ground that they will probably never make up. Another closure would be disastrous.

Are local educators listening to the best science? Or will they cave to fear, to those who may have their own agenda? Check with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Balance risk vs. the greater cost, then do what is right for our children. And may we all listen to many experts, hold on to our faith, and refuse to live in fear.

Mary Ellen Blake

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