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Column: Let’s work together to bring this pandemic under control
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

I don’t remember last spring. 

It was a blur. We were consumed with the early days of COVID.

This year, I think there is hope. I have watched as the gray of winter has turned into the green and colors of spring.

In Augusta, the Masters Tournament was played at its regular time of the year. The azaleas were beautiful, and CBS did a wonderful job taking us there.

This weekend, the Kentucky Derby will take place on Derby Day at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The attendance has been reduced by about two-thirds, but the sport of kings will go on with all its splendor.

Locally, I’ve watched as beautiful trees and shrubs erupted in a wonderful display of color.

As our world around here has come back to life, there is more hope than ever that the coronavirus may soon reach a manageable level. 

I think consumers are ready to go back to stores, restaurants and other businesses. The only hang-up on that is a need for workers. A lot of people find themselves making more by collecting both the state unemployment and the additional federal funds on top of that.

One day, that train is going to come to stop, and we will have people looking for a job.

It makes me a bit nervous when I go into a business, and they have a permanent sign advertising the need for employees.

There used to be a stigma attached to accepting a government handout, but they must have created a vaccine for that, as well. Folks seem to be rather happy to stay home and watch TV.

According to the data, Hall County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. But, ride around for a few minutes, and you’ll see what was a restaurant or a store.

I look forward to a day when we can safely go and dine, shop or see a movie. I feel like that day will come, I just don’t know when.

They announced this week that we don’t need masks when we are outdoors. Thank God for that. I look forward to a day when I can take my mask, pile it with others and find some method of destroying it. I have no desire to save one as a souvenir.

The paper mask has become the newest contribution to our collection of litter. If you walk around outside a hospital, a doctor’s office or a drug store, you’re likely to see a wadded up mask in the parking lot. Even before they announced we don’t have to wear them outside, we were trashing them as soon as we got out the door.

There is a part of me that wants to pick them up and throw them away. But then, I’m reminded that someone has breathed, coughed or sneezed into that facial covering. I hope someone with a broom comes along sooner than later.

We must continue to work toward what is called herd immunity, when enough of us have been vaccinated that we bring this pandemic under control.

We did it with polio and smallpox, and we can do it with COVID-19.​


Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the weekend Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com.

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