Like you, I too am weary of the pandemic. Weary of the resultant lockdown. Weary of the slow progress toward effective therapies. And weary waiting for the introduction of the somewhere-beyond-the-horizon vaccine and its distribution.
Yet, the sad fact remains that, unlike cancer, ALS, leukemia and a host of other maladies which plague us, and to which many billions of dollars and countless years of research have been devoted, COVID-19 is a "novel" virus - meaning that it is new and that doctors and scientists are only beginning to scratch the surface of understanding its many complexities, variations, nuances and mutations.
As much as we would all love to see an overnight solution to this conundrum that has so turned upside-down our personal lives and society as a whole, the end is not yet. We shall not discover a hidden “miracle cure” through the magic of a YouTube or Facebook video. Let that be realized.
I can only imagine the level of frustration, chagrin and repeated exclamations of “Oh, for (expletive) sake!” experienced by our true frontline nurses, doctors, health care workers, researchers and government officials every time another of these fly-in-the-face-of-all-acceptable-science videos and conspiracy theories makes its rounds before being universally debunked and discredited by rational science. Because real scientific progress and medical breakthroughs are not the stuff of blockbuster films, in which the heroes - a jaded and aging researcher and the brash young medical intern – manage to save civilization at the 11th hour. Real science and medical progress is all too often agonizingly slow, tedious and complicated by wrong turns, dead ends and, in the case of a deadly virus, unhappily involves the deaths of considerable laboratory rats and monkeys.
While our hearts and emotions would wish it were not so, the inescapable truth is that our daily lives will not be returning to normal anytime soon; many more people will continue to get sick, and some will die, as we struggle to normalize the recommended protocols of mask wearing, social distancing and sanitizing protocols, and a lot more rats and monkeys will die.
The good news is that the sooner we all embrace the reality of the situation and cooperate with the protocols and necessary inconveniences, the sooner we shall gain the upper hand in this struggle and put the specter of COVID-19 behind us. As has been said before, there is no challenge we as a nation have failed to meet, no obstacle too large for us to overcome, nor any battle we cannot win.
Peter Wonderly is a native-born Bakersfield resident and has spent the last 24 years as an educator, teaching in continuation high schools.