By Beverly Gadson-Birch
Last week, several groups of protestors converged on Columbia. There were those in support of opening the state back up for business immediately and those in opposition. I know no one asked me, but I support those that oppose re-opening the state prematurely and putting more lives at risk of contracting or dying from the virus.
Like so many others, I have had enough of the lock down; but, I am not tired of living. When I weigh survival odds, age, health issues and mysteries surrounding the virus against the 1,180,634 confirmed cases, 68,934 in the United States alone, I will continue to hunker down and take precautionary measures. I get it!! It is important for the economy to get back on track, vote in upcoming elections and register with the Census, but protection against the virus should take center stage. First things first!! Dead folks cannot spend money, can’t be counted in the Census and can’t vote in upcoming elections.
At some point states need to reopen, but not now when statistics say otherwise. May 4, DHEC reported 135 new positive cases and 8 new deaths in South Carolina bringing the total confirmed cases to 6,757 and 283 deaths.
While stimulus checks are rolling in and Mother’s Day right around the corner, merchants are suiting up, masks and all, ready to suck the bucks out of your hands for trivial wants and not so much needs. Why ‘da heck y’all need new tennis shoes when access to gyms and travel are limited? Malls are inviting patrons back with reopening sales and restaurants advertising outdoor dining. Coincidence or what? Beware of deceptive tactics that seem to surface with every disaster. Be sure to take care of essentials first; the “wants” can wait for a later date. Stimulus checks are two-fold—to stimulate the economy and as a lifeline to help folks get through one of the worst times in this country’s history. Lifelines are intended to keep you afloat.
Nursing homes are being hit hard. Be sure to check in on the elderly. Visitations are not allowed but you can call and requests updates.
Since early March, I have been advocating testing in communities of color. Testing is finally available to persons who may have come in contact with someone with the virus or suspected of having the virus. There are still not enough tests for everyone. If you are not sick or experiencing any of the symptoms, do not block someone that needs the test.
Life as we knew it is no more. Until more is known about the virus, more will die. Millions of unemployed will not be rehired. Employers will downsize. Buffets may be a thing of the past. Investments will continue to ride a wave of uncertainty. Renters will face eviction. Banks will foreclose on homes and repossess cars. It is what happens during tough times. People changes! Life changes!
Some folks do not take anything seriously! Tell them the sky is falling and they will ask you “where”. My message to skeptics is if you wish to live on the edge, good; but you do not have the right to jeopardize the lives of others. Be considerate! Stay your distance! If you are not going to protect yourself, stay your distance from those who do.
In 1945 Louis Jordan wrote a song, “Caldonia, What Makes Your Head So Hard”. I found myself singing the one line and thinking of hardheaded Trump, Governors and Mayors of cities where the death toll is high and continues to climb. I thought about the large crowd on beaches and amusement parks. Lives matter! And, lives should be the paramount concern before reopening states. Folks listen! “Don’t Make Your Head So Hard!”