Believing something doesn’t make it true

Since the beginning of Covid, we have seen cases of people wanting to believe something that just isn’t true. Covid was out-right denied. Despite thousands dying, its severity was denied. Public health safety measures have been doubted, questioned, debated and completely ignored for years.

A couple of months ago, I noticed people who took Covid seriously suddenly doubting the efficacy of masks and social distancing. People became lax in following protocols, especially as infection rates dropped.

As many others continue to point out, I continue to point out that the reason infection rates drop is because protocols are followed. It is not a sign that Covid is gone, but a direct result of following safety protocols.

But people are tired. Tired of illness. Tired of a new normal. Tired of safety protocols. I get it. Me too.

But being tired isn’t a reason to put ourselves and others in danger.

Last week, a federal judge determined it’s governmental over-reach to require masks on public transportation and elsewhere. Immediately, mask mandates dropped. Pilots celebrated over PA systems mid-flight. Ride shares send out emails. And other industries followed suit.

Many hospitals and doctors’ offices no longer require masks. One of my doctor offices sent out communications stating masks are now optional. Of all places, shouldn’t medical establishments require masks?

And then I went onto Facebook to post something about my kids for family, and was quickly reminded why I rarely do Facebook anymore. In the brief 5 minutes I stupidly decided to scroll my feed, I saw post after post celebrating the end of mask requirements. And not from people you would expect to see post like these from. No, people who previously seemed to know how serious Covid is and all the potential health risks to people, especially high risk and immunocompromised people.

Pictures riding the bus maskless were posted. Celebratory comments about the end of mask mandates filled my feed. Not a single person concerned; not a single person hesitant about what this could mean.

My chest filled, a pounding thumped in my head, and I immediately closed the app.

We are not over Covid. You wishing we are helps no one. Infection rates are going back up in many states, and instead of sticking to protocols that have helped, you seem to care less.

High risk people like me hear that we don’t matter as much, and that your right to sit in a restaurant or be in a public space maskless is more important than my right to health and life.

And the fact is, despite you wanting to ignore it, long Covid is a serious condition. Thousands of people continue to experience long Covid symptoms months and even years after initially getting Covid. And many of these people had mild symptoms with Covid too. But now, are experiencing a range of symptoms from heart and lung conditions to loss of mobility, diabetes and brain fog.

I contracted Covid in February of 2022. It’s likely it happened during a visit to a busy medical center that insisted I remove my mask that fit well, and put on a disposable mask that was too large for my face and didn’t fit at all. Fortunately, I had incredibly mild symptoms. However, about four weeks afterwards, I noticed more strenuous breathing during physical activity than before. My doctor believes it’s a direct result of having Covid.

Covid hasn’t gone away, and continues to impact old young, healthy and immunocompromised alike. Rates are back up. In the last week, I personally know 5 people diagnosed with Covid again, all whom are high risk. A classic example of the privileged caring little for the needs outside their own.

But sure, believe Covid is over and celebrate.

By Imperfection

Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter is a mom and writer from Omaha, Nebraska but recently relocated to Urbandale, IA. When she’s not chasing children, picking up messes or reorganizing the house, she enjoys yoga or reading to relax. In her spare time (A.K.A. her dreams) she’s a Broadway star. Kuenning-Pollpeter is a freelance marketer during the day, a creative writer at night. Her work has appeared in the Brevity blog, The Omaha World Herald, 13th Floor, Misbehaving Nebraskans, Hippocampus, Emerging Nebraska Writers and Random Sample Review. She has her BFA and MFA in writing from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Her essay “The Body” was a McKenna Fellowship finalist, and her essay “Imperfection” was a 2020 Best of the Net Nominee. She is blind and writes frequently about disability. She’s working on a memoir about the disabled feminine experience. With the kids though, expect it in stores in about a decade.

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