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the pandemic

Responding to COVID Fatigue, It's time to make demands on everyone, some more than others.

A recent report in Mississippi cited a tip in the COVID-19 scales favoring African Americans. This affirms what I know about my people: they are pragmatic. If you give them the pertinent information and the rationale, they will struggle to comply.

In the early days of the pandemic, Black folks in the state were the majority of the cases and the deaths. The health department tracked about 60 percent then but now the situation has reversed with white people now leading the stats. Health officials believe a big factor is that white folks are not wearing masks and practicing social distancing to the same degree as Black folks. Being Black means that when it comes to health care, there’s a gulf in racial disparities to cross. In short, we know we ain’t got nothing coming and we’re on our own.

We are sick and tired of the pandemic. We miss going to the movies. We watch our neighborhood businesses close their doors with finality.

This country refuses to take the pandemic seriously. Over 15 million cases as we barrel towards the 300,000 mark for a new record in COVID-19 deaths. The entire United States has essentially become one big hot spot. And there’s still no national coordinated plan to contain the virus.

Governors and mayors are leaving it up to the individual to do the right thing. Nobody wants to be the bad guy or gal. Officials - elected or appointed - lack the courage to do what is necessary to quiet the COVID storm. This is not a popularity test. People are dying who could be still alive. The lack of leadership will mean the pandemic will drag out for most of 2021.

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Some are thinking the vaccine is going to be the panacea. I haven’t come across anyone who feels comfortable with taking the vaccine. Maybe this is a Black thang because we definitely understand. Our relationship with U.S. medicine hasn’t exactly been a positive one. In order for the fast-tracked, corner-cuttin’ vaccine to be effective, experts say that 70 percent of the population would have to take it. Between trump covidiots and people of color’s legit fear of western medicine, we could have a problem with mass vaccination.

One thing we all have in common. We are sick and tired of the pandemic. We miss going to the movies. We watch our neighborhood businesses close their doors with finality. Church pews are empty on Saturdays and Sundays. We cannot visit our loved ones in the hospital. There is a reason we never signed up for home-schooling. We all want our pre-COVID world back where we could come and go without a second thought.

Wishing, hoping and ignoring facts are not the solutions to taming the beast. The science must dominate if we are to successfully conquer the pandemic and restore some modicum of normalcy to our lives. We must fight through misinformation, conspiracy theories and under-reporting. We must encourage people to wear their masks, wash their hands frequently, stay home if they can and social distance when they can’t stay at home.

Most of us don’t have the capital to order the manufacturing of personal protective equipment. We don’t have the authority to oversee the distribution of the vaccine to ensure the most vulnerable populations get it first. What we can control is what is in our power to do. It starts with using common sense, being determined to survive and taking care of our communities.

This means practicing and enforcing the simple measures in our own spaces of what the experts know now. It means demanding our government step up with safe and innovative ways to tackle the beast to aggressively save the country from the financial, spiritual and psychological devastation that lay ahead.

the pandemic

It should start with passing an economic stimulus package truly designed for meeting the needs of working people facing overwhelming conditions and not the corporate bloodsuckers.

Jamala Rogers
The Black Commentator