While playing in the ocean as a kid, did you ever just get blindsided by a wave? Have you ever been totally knocked off your feet, a mouth full of sand, and no idea which way is up? After struggling and slightly panicking, you finally find the ground and the surface — and you stand up, just to get hit with another wave.
Maybe some of you don’t know what I mean, and don’t have similar childhood memories to mine. It’s basically the same feeling as when these “waves” of spikes in coronavirus cases continue to hit America. The United States was never able to lower cases from its initial outbreak, when suddenly the so-called "second wave" hit in the early summer, and case numbers doubled. We were never able to get case numbers to fall from the second wave when in the past few weeks, cases seemingly doubled again, hitting record highs daily through the end of October and into November.
In the beginning of this whole thing, the country was plunged into mass panic. People were genuinely scared, schools across the country shut down and businesses closed up shop. The news was showing stories of people getting into fist fights over toilet paper in grocery store isles.
Look at us now, eight months later, and cases spike again. The difference is now all that happens is they push back a football game a few weeks. People have pretty much given up and are sick of quarantine and COVID-19 guidelines all together. Fatigue has set in, and news of a third wave made headlines for about a day. Americans returned to their lives with little second thought, running errands, seeing friends and trying to act normal again.
Quarantine fatigue is real people, and it's here! People got sick of hiding in their homes and have ever so slowly chipped away at the guidelines and rules to return to a sense of normalcy. I mean I get it; my favorite time of the day is when I walk away from my computer screen, and I would love for the pandemic to just disappear.
Case numbers are at record highs, not only in America, but globally. The U.S. very recently became the first nation to surpass a total of 10 million cases. This came at the same time the global total of cases reached 55 million. Yes, the U.S. is accountable for about 1/5 of the total cases in the entire world — let that sink in for a second. America doesn’t even make up more than 5% of the whole world’s population. Really, it's pathetic, we should be ashamed. We never imagined reaching these kinds of numbers back in March, and now we are returning to school, work and eating out — as if the numbers aren't rising. We have returned to acting normal when cases are three times as high as what they were when strangers were screaming at each other about wearing masks.
We are headed into the dead of winter, where conditions for spreading the virus become ideal. Match that with the holiday travel and gatherings, and we are aimed at what the media has been calling the third wave. Let’s just be honest with ourselves, a wave would imply that there is a rise and a fall. There has been no lowering of case numbers here, only somewhat managing the surge at hand, and then getting overwhelmed with another surge. Give the public some time, the new peak is accepted as the new normal and the cycle repeats again until the next surge hits. Numbers will only continue to rise. I mean, what else are we supposed to think — it's not like they have dropped meaningfully in this cycle yet, right?
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Lauren is a political science major from Baltimore.