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Living On Coronavirus Time

There is a country song about a guy from Oklahoma who goes to California where “people live so fine” but, when he finally gets there, finds things a bit tough and remonstrates that he is still “living on Tulsa time.” I am having the same kind of trouble living my daily life while being on “coronavirus time.”

My calendar for the year says that it is time to pick a Bills home game to go to–but which one? Too early in the season and there might not be a game. Too late in the season, about the time the usual flu season begins, means there will probably be more coronavirus around. Not only does the COVID-19 virus ignore racial, national, or ethnic lines–it also ignores my annual calendar.

This means, of course, that it also ignores the political calendar. It doesn’t care who is running for President of the United States on November 3rd. It doesn’t give a hoot who the dictator of China is. It just keeps marching along to the tune of its own drummer, waiting to pounce. This also means that we can’t politicize the virus. We should cheer any of our leaders who are fighting it. We should also expect them to be taking their cues from doctors and health care experts.

I remember, as a kid, the fear my parents had of polio. It was caused by a virus of which there was little knowledge and, at the time, there was no vaccine to treat it. It could be especially lethal for young people, and it attacked muscles in the body. (The coronavirus seems to prefer older males, and it attacks the lungs.)

Yet, there was a common understanding with polio–if you contracted it, it was going to be a long, hard, time-consuming fight for the infected and the families involved.

We face the same kind of challenge with the current virus. It is going to come and go until a vaccine can be found to treat it. Doctors are trying to find drugs that can help the body fight it, but it will be a proven vaccine (like it was for polio) which will ultimately put this critter down.

Seventy-five years ago, our nation was thrust into the abyss of World War II. Some predicted an early victory and end to the war…but it went on for four years. The people of the country accepted that, did their part, bought war bonds, funded, supplied and fought a world-wide conflict. They had stamina, I think, in part, from their experiences with diseases like polio. They took the long view. They won the war.

We will find a vaccine for COVID-19, but, according to many experts, it will likely be another 18 months to 2 years before this happens. Will we have the stamina and perseverance to carry on the fight until then? It will be a test for the current generation, but I believe they will prevail.

Yet, what we need to realize right now is that we are living on COVID-time. It is not the same as our calendar time. The war will be over once we find the weapon(s) that can defeat this enemy… and not until.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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