COVID-19 Is Spiking And My Neighbors Clearly DGAF

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 
Julia Meslener for Scary Mommy and FPG/ Flavio Coelho/Getty

Take a look at the COVID-19 case tracker kept by The New York Times and prepare to freak out. This past week has seen an “average of 111,175 cases per day,” a surge of 59% from two weeks ago. COVID-19 is spiking in the United States. Politico says that New Mexico expects to run out of general hospital beds “in a matter of days.” ICU beds in the Minnesota Twin Cities area are 98% full. Wherever you live, however you slice it, COVID-19 is spiking all over the country.

My neighbors DGAF.

I see them posting on neighborhood groups about food truck gatherings still happening in our subdivision. Our homeschool groups still have meet-ups— most without masks, and almost none with social distancing guidelines. These people, who are supposed to be smart enough to teach their kids, ignore science and let them frolic on playgrounds. Playgrounds where they touch things.

All while COVID-19 is spiking.

They Don’t Care COVID-19 Is Spiking, If They Even Know

Don’t get me started on my local stores. They’ve long given up enforcing mask mandates, probably out of safety for the workers, who would bear the brunt of people going totally Karen — or worse. They have a mask mandate posted. People literally walk by the sign in a mask, then take it off and stuff it in their pocket. I have to hold my hand up and sternly say “Stop!” to employees and patrons alike who attempt to get within six feet of me.

Half of them have their masks pulled down under their noses. COVID-19 is is spiking. They don’t care.

Cases in my state are at the same level they were in July, at the height of the pandemic for us.

I resist urges to yell things like, “You are the reason COVID-19 is spiking in this country.”

My husband drove by the local farmer’s market the other day. No one was socially distanced at all; instead, they were milling around in a crowd. Some of the people were wearing masks. Many of them were not. The county in which they hold the farmer’s market is one of the two worst counties for COVID-19.

Halloween Was A Nightmare

On Halloween, we made the mistake of attempting a drive-thru trunk-or-treat at the church up the road. COVID-19 is spiking, but we were informed, upon arriving, that we could take our masks off while we stayed in the car. Say what? Did the virus recognize the open window of my minivan as an effective barrier?

Calm down, my husband said. We’ll stay masked, he said. I’m sure everyone else will wear masks.

Except they didn’t. When an unmasked Gryffindor student doled out candy to my children, I had to clench my teeth to stop the obscenities. A line of car had amassed behind us. If they all took off their masks, they’d all breathe on Gryffindor girl, and Gryffindor girl would breathe on all of them, and I almost lost my mind. Didn’t they know COVID-19 is spiking? Didn’t they care? Were they sick of the restrictions and just shoving their heads in the sand?

Then my mother took off her mask during our visit to her yard, without socially distancing, and my head exploded. “I don’t think I’ll get it,” she informed me.

Dear neighbors, COVID-19 is spiking because all of you think like my mother. “I don’t think I’ll get it” is not a viable viral protection strategy.

Anna Shvets/Pexels

The Polls Didn’t Help Matters

We walked approximately one hundred yards up the road to vote. Outside the polls mingled the maskless, or those with masks dangling under their chins, or those with masks showing their noses. Two women shrieked and hugged one another. My husband laid his hand on my arm. “Just stop,” he said.

COVID-19 is spiking because of these small interactions, these little gatherings, these attitudes of “I don’t think I’ll get it,” or “Nancy couldn’t possibly have it.”

The woman who checked me in (admittedly from behind plexiglass) wore a face shield without a mask. As the CDC says (their bolding, not Scary Mommy‘s), the “CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.” because enough testing hasn’t been done to say that face shields will prevent you from transmitting COVID-19 to other people. COVID-19 is spiking because of women like this poll worker who thought that since she’d have to sit and check people in all day, she’d wear a face shield instead of a mask.

No one maintained proper social distancing techniques or made any effort whatsoever to do so. This was in a room with no open windows or proper ventilation in which poll workers were obviously confined all day, and people were passing in and out constantly. As the CDC says, COVID-19 can be spread after the infected person has left the six foot radius if there is no proper ventilation or they been in an enclosed space with a susceptible person.

But chill. They had hand sanitizer.

COVID-19 Is Spiking Because Of These ‘Little’ Things

There’s a misconception about masks. Infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong, MD told the University of California—San Francisco that “I think there’s enough evidence to say that the best benefit [of wearing a mask] is for people who have COVID-19 to protect them from giving COVID-19 to other people, but you’re still going to get a benefit from wearing a mask if you don’t have COVID-19.”

COVID-19 is spiking because masks aren’t enough. You also have to maintain social distancing and keep outings to a minimum. My neighbors have shown, through their actions, that they don’t care COVID-19 is spiking. Maybe they’re sick of the restrictions. Maybe they didn’t care in the first place. Maybe think they won’t get the virus in the first place.

But whatever the cause, they’re making the world more dangerous for everyone else. Their actions are causing the COVID-19 spike. And if we want the disease to end, everyone has to adhere to guidelines and do their part. No face shields. No hugging. Masks all the time. Proper social distancing.

Maybe then we can get COVID-19 under control.

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