GUIZERIX: Exercise a modicum of caution prior to COVID-19 panic

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2022

I am the poster child for COVID-19 panic.

It’s impossible for someone in my line of work to avoid the subject — I feel an obligation, when new information becomes available, to share that with readers. I feel obligated to present all the facts and viewpoints on politicized topics, such as whether or not to wear masks or get vaccinated. I feel obligated to share what treatments are available for those who contract COVID-19.

When the pandemic first set in, I was at the end of my first trimester of pregnancy. Couple that with having an extremely vulnerable parent, and other loved ones who could be considered “vulnerable,” and it’s not hard to see why I wanted to take every precaution imaginable. My husband even caught me sanitizing our groceries on more than one occasion.

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Even now, I wear my mask when I feel the need to do so, such as when I go to the pharmacy. I am fully vaccinated and plan to get my booster shot this week, Lord willing.

All that being said, it’s time we look at these rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers from a different perspective.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Warren County has a population of 44,722 people. As of Jan. 11, the Centers for Disease Control recorded 563 active COVID-19 cases in Warren County. (I’m choosing to reference the CDC here instead of the Mississippi State Department of Health because the state’s data recording lags so far behind.)

If you’re following along and have done the math, that’s a grand total of 1.25 percent of our total population. Also according to the CDC, 58.6 percent of our residents are vaccinated against COVID-19.

As a healthy woman in my mid-20s with no pre-existing conditions and two shots under her belt, I’ll take those odds.

By no means should this be interpreted as indifference or lack of care for those who are impacted by COVID-19 in Warren County and beyond. We still need to do whatever we see fit to protect ourselves and each other from illness, whether that’s wearing a mask to church or isolating at home or getting vaccinated or taking vitamins or whatever combination of guidelines we’ve been given.

Just as importantly, we need to exercise some empathy for those who aren’t responding to the pandemic the same way we are.

While I will probably always worry about COVID-19 or whatever illness plagues us next, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m done living in fear of the numbers. I’ve done all I know to do to protect myself and my family, and refuse to give in to the panic any longer.