If only we’d known

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana). Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times published a front-page article: “Road to a million; a case study: Early optimism, indecision, then fatigue; now a scary spike.” Here are the highlights.

January 20th – it was announced that there was a first verified case of the coronavirus in the United States.

March 1st – The State of Florida announced its first verified case. Within a week the first death was recorded in the State. Within in another week localities issued safer-at-home mandates, people began working at home, schools closed as did churches. Yet at state and national levels, no cohesive or coordinated policies arose. Hospitals saw waves and waves of patients. March 11th the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic. Locally toilet paper became the new gold as hoarding began. More and more of my posts reflected the reality we all faced: As Tears Fall.

April 1st – a state-wide “safer-at-home” order was issued with the hope that 30 days would be sufficient. Grocery store shelves had row upon row with marks of “just in case” buying of rice, beans, chicken, pork, beef, and other food staples. Parishes became instant experts in live streaming Mass: Confessions of a Live Streaming Catholic.

April 3rd – 10,000 cases – but 7,000 cases were reported in a single week when March became April. “If only we can make it through April.”  Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that Florida was one of the places where “community spread” had taken hold. Virus testing was generally not available.

May 23rd – 50,000 cases. Statewide restrictions on restaurants, stores and parks were lifted and people began to congregate in public spaces. Sound methods for slowing the virus’ spread, such as wearing masks and limiting gatherings to small sizes, were increasingly politicized. Researchers and health officials warned that Florida and other southern states were reopening too soon, setting them up for a summer surge in cases. Parishes began to celebrate public Masses: Finding Our Way.

June 22nd – 100,000 cases.  Restrictions continued to be lifted in the hope for a return to normalcy. Health official warnings from May became statistics in cases, hospitalizations, and death.

August 5th – 500,000 cases. Plans for schools were in flux, pandemic fatigue dug deeper, and yet no state or national policies were in place. The national dialogue about masks became toxic. Freedom, Choice and Face Coverings

October 17th – 750,000 cases. Election tension, internet rumors replacing scientific inquiry, and we are simply pandemic and election fatigued. It all permeates our lives – even in church: Communion and Covid

November 18th – 900,000 cases. Thanksgiving travel with 1 million travelers on the days before the holiday. Health experts had pleaded with folks to not travel, not celebrated in large gatherings indoors. A year ago if one mentioned “hero” one thought of our brave women and men in the military. These days, one’s mind immediately summon up health care workers: Passing On.

Tomorrow Florida is likely to cross the threshold to 1,000,000 cases

If only we’d known…then, but what about now? What are we to do as people of faith? Wear a mask, practice social distance, love your neighbor and be safe. And in case you missed this post, Hope and a Comment, it is great advice.

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