Eye of the hurricane? Window of opportunity? Or both?
Welcome to August. Or, as I like to call it, the probable end to the “eye” of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) “hurricane.”
Like those huge, circular destructive storms with the placid eye in the middle, COVID-19 seems to have its phases. We all know what the first phase was like. This summer has provided a respite—like the eye of the hurricane—but like people years ago who used to be fooled into thinking the storm was at an end, only to face its wrath again, everyone should be on the lookout for what’s coming next.
By “what’s coming next” I don’t just mean the virus and its variants, like the recent Delta variant, but also the government restrictions that are supposed to protect us from the physical harm the virus can do.
It may have seemed nice for the virus and the government to give us all the summer off, allowing us to take vacations and roam about the state and the country again. A cynic may have noticed the (purely coincidental I am sure) uptick in gas prices and spike in inflation. But why quibble? No masks, right?
Again, a cynic may have noticed these recent events occurred just in time for preparations to return to school. The government types added that, while they may have told you that you would not have to wear a mask if you were fully vaccinated, and they thank you for getting vaccinated, as of last week, it is now recommended by Governor Phil Murphy that all people—vaccinated and unvaccinated—should wear masks in indoor public places that are considered an “increased risk” for COVID-19.
It can be confusing, especially since the definition of what makes an indoor public place an “increased risk” seems to be as vague as many of the other guidelines we’ve been given during this whole mess.
In marketing, the term is known as “messaging.” It means using key points to communicate about something with a target audience. Interestingly, “messaging” is one letter removed from the word “massaging” which www.dictionary.com defines as “to manipulate, organize or rearrange (date, figures or the like) to produce a specific result, especially a favorable one: “The auditors discovered that the company had massaged the books.”
So, if we are going to face some of the same restrictions we faced in previous months, what are we going to do about it? I have no problem with the public and the politicians claiming their same sides: mask or anti-mask, vax or anti-vax, etc. In the meantime, how do we deal with the cards—whatever they will be—we are dealt?
Life will go on, even as the specter of restrictions may soon morph into a grim reality. People are still going to need to feed their families, run their businesses, seek places of worship and locations to gather and enjoy themselves. Children will still have to be educated. We’re going to have an election in November.
In addition to restrictions, people and governments need to have a plan. While we’re still in the “eye of the hurricane” (and who knows how long it will last) we should embrace this time as a “window of opportunity” to plan how to deal with those restrictions and the virus itself.
Experience is an excellent teacher. There is no need to be caught flat-footed or off guard. In fact, let’s face it, the clues about restrictions possibly coming back are easily found at just about any government or news source. There is really no excuse not to know that another go-around of the COVID-19 “hurricane” and its attendant restrictions may be on its way.
You know what to do. Start preparing. Don’t ignore the changes as they are made. Be prepared and it will be easier if the restrictions come again.
No matter what, always remember that while the seas can be stormy at times, we are all the captains of our own ships.
Gabe Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.