The Covid divide

By Mark Frost, Chronicle Editor

You either get close to people when you’re out and about or you don’t. You either take coronavirus as a clear and present danger or you think the risk is exaggerated.

AFRAID urges the sign outside Adirondack Seafood Restaurant in Hudson Falls.

That’s my realization as I’m more out and about myself in recent weeks.

I’m one of those people who still takes coronavirus as a serious ongoing risk. Our family has been largely out of circulation.

Lately, though, I’m emerging.

During Memorial Day weekend I kept coming into contact with friends, people I know and do business with and some complete strangers. Time and again they just naturally approached. Donnie Howard, my friend going back 40 years to the start of The Chronicle, when his family’s print shop became Chronicle family too, was wearing a T-shirt that said “I’m a hugger.”

No hug for me, I told him. I keep the six-foot rule.

Time and again I retreat as somebody I’m talking to naturally moves forward. They aren’t being aggressive. They’re being friendly. I still adhere to the buffer.

Our son Max has been home with us since Easter. I drove down to Washington, D.C. and picked him up. We’ve finally let him out of the basement. Just kidding, but I kept my distance for the first few days, even though he’d quarantined for two weeks in his apartment before I got there. Max has a lifelong friend back from Florida who said he was harassed there for wearing a mask. Some people literally got in his face.

Here it isn’t like that, but in coronavirus, as in so much of the nation’s politics, a chasm separates viewpoints of the pandemic.

When it all started, I thought COVID was everywhere. I felt sure I’d come down with it. I wore gloves in the post office, sanitized every piece of mail. Now I’ve dialed back on the paranoia. I appreciate it when the post office leaves its doors open. I can get my mail without touching any surface. (And now I read that surfaces aren’t the big threat anyway.) After getting our mail, I sanitize my hands in the car, open the mail in the office, wash my hands, get on with my business.

I don’t wear a mask when I go walking. I cross the street to avoid people. I think outdoors is pretty safe.

I don’t dismiss people who question the lockdown. I hope they turn out to be right.

Copyright © 2020 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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