Amber

Remember mud pies? Remember drinking from the boiling hot water hose in the middle of a busy summer play day? Red Rover, Ring around the Roses, Duck Duck Goose; remember those things? 

Ah, delightful filth, human contact, germs! Bacteria everywhere, sweaty, disgusting bacteria. 

Look at us now, wearing hand sanitizer like jewelry. The next big fashion fad will be highly decorated hazmat suits, blinged-out respirators, and scariest of all, Crocs sponsored by Pfizer. 

When you see that nonsense on the runway you remember who said it first. I expect some royalties! 

COVID-19, it feels like I’m saying a swear word. 

How many of you flinch when you read the letters, or impulsively smear that sweet-smelling alcohol concoction on your baby soft hands? How many of you have a stockpile of bottled water, medical masks, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper? How many of you are terrified and ready to quarantine yourselves? Maybe good ole Ted will share his COVID bubble with you. 

Every two years we freak out over some new thing. Mad cow disease, SARS, MERS, Swine flu, Avian flu...the list is endless. 

Who out there caught any of those world-wide pandemics?

Put your hand down, you did not. You had a cold and because you bathe in Lysol, bleach, and rubbing alcohol your body didn’t know how to rid itself of these minuscule intruders. 

Toughen up, people. Calm down and live life. Go to Wal-Mart for something other than your doomsday horde. Stop flinching every time somebody comes within 10 feet of you. Stop being so soft. Quit acting like this thing is the beginning of the end. I assure you, it isn’t. 

According to the American Heart Association:

The age-adjusted death rate attributable to cardiovascular disease (CVD), based on 2017 data, is 219.4 per 100,000.

On average, someone dies of CVD every 37 seconds in the U.S. There are 2,353 deaths from CVD each day, based on 2017 data.

On average, someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds. There are about 795,000 new or recurrent strokes each year, based on 1999 data.

On average, someone dies of a stroke every 3.59 minutes in the U.S. There are about 401 deaths from stroke each day, based on 2017 data.

Now the vast majority of you should genuinely be concerned about those statistics, but I don’t see you tossing your HungryMan XL dinner and jumping out of your recliner to go grab a salad and get in some time on the treadmill. I’m included in that, by the way, so don’t get your pleasantly plump little feelings hurt. 

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that so far this season there have been at least 34 million flu illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths from flu. Million, people, million. 

How many schools and shopping malls did we shut down for this? How many hotel quarantine sites did we set up? How many testing kits did we order?

The American Cancer Society reports that in 2020 there will be approximately 89,500 cancer cases diagnosed and about 9,270 cancer deaths in adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 39 years in the US. Are you building a bunker to save yourself from this? Did the orange one take over the airwaves to voice his breathless concern over this?

I’m not claiming that this outbreak isn’t dangerous. The virus can and has killed but so have a million other viruses and diseases. 

Why are we running around like a billion Chicken Littles screaming that the sky is falling? Why are we raiding store shelves for hand sanitizer and crying about a vaccine that won’t even exist for probably another year? 

When did the people of this country become so soft? What triggered this depth of naiveté and overwhelming stupidity? Let’s be honest with each other, we as a people have been dumb since way back, but what is the genesis? 

Put the mask down. Take those gloves off. Toss your hand sanitizer in the junk drawer where it belongs. Go live life like a normal, sensible human person. Someone you know will probably end up with it, just like someone you know probably got the flu, or has cancer, or heart disease. 

Heck, maybe it’ll be you, or even me, but at least when I die of the coronavirus, I’ll go smelling like actual human flesh instead of a walking funeral arrangement and I’ll have lived until the very moment I didn’t anymore. 

Amber Lollar is the reporter for The Henderson News. Her e-mail address is <reporter@thehendersonnews.com>. © 2019, Henderson Newspapers Inc.

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