Just Like Everyone Else

I live in a small-to-medium size Florida city, which for a time had the largest, per-capital concentration of COVID–19 cases in Florida. I don’t live in South Florida.

Me, my family, and my coworkers all watched the news – as many of you did – about the pandemic. We saw other states close down. The county government here issued a stay-at-home order, about a week before our Governor did, but little seemed to change. We were still required to report to work. As I type this, we’re still getting in our cars and driving in to work each morning.

Today is the first day under the Governor’s stay-at-home order… and near as I can tell, many folks in my town are still out and about, still doing what they did before COVID. I look out at the highway outside my office window, and I see just as much traffic. I drive around at lunch and see business parking lots filled with cars.

I know I only see a small sliver of one small city. I know evidence via anecdote isn’t much better than no evidence at all. Still, I can’t help but worry we’re not taking this seriously. I can’t help fearing all the mixed messages are causing what I’m seeing, and it’s not just me and my small sliver of a small city, it’s all over. I fear that I’ll get sick when everyone else is getting sick, and my medical history will lead me to be one of the more severe cases. I worry about my wife’s asthma. I worry about my parent’s advanced age. I worry our leaders will weaponize our fears. More than ever, I worry about the world our children will inherit. I feel utterly helpless… without means to do anything about it.

Thankfully, I’m not worried about my job – because I’m apparently essential. I sure don’t feel like it.