EDITORIAL

COVID-19 lessons, from the Lone Ranger to A.J. Parkinson

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Donald Trump had a change of heart last week when it came to face masks. While he still doesn’t understand why requiring masks to be worn should be mandatory, he did admit he’d wear one in a “tight situation,” adding that when he wears one, he looks like the Lone Ranger.

There are a number of things wrong with that statement, beginning with the fact if he does indeed look like the iconic law enforcement character, he’s not wearing the mask right at all.

Trump has taken the coronavirus situation lightly. And while that might have been somewhat forgivable in late February — when the number of American cases could be counted on one hand — 2.8 million positive cases and 130,000 deaths later, the president should be leading the medical army to finally stop this pandemic, not allowing it to ravage the country.

Despite much of the state being in the latter parts of a general reopening strategy, New York has such low levels of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo stopped doing a daily press briefing. But we’re not out of the woods yet — especially since we can’t close our borders to other states who weren’t as smart when it came to controlling the spread.

And that’s enough to make us even more angry. Millions of people got sick, tens of thousands died, and not even Republicans can shame Donald Trump into some sort of action.

On the campaign trail, former vice president Joe Biden said fighting a pandemic should be led by Washington, creating a uniform plan so that states don’t have to be afraid of other states. It wasn’t long ago when simply mentioning New York would make people want to run and get tested. Now there’s fear that someone from somewhere else will track the virus back into the city and force us to go all through this again.

But that’s not the only thing we have to worry about. Because the virus was beaten down so well here, many feel it’s time to relax social distancing. To no longer wear the mask. To not fear that person we’re spending time with could indeed be infected.

We can’t let our guard down. Not right now. New York’s crisis exploded in just a matter of weeks. But coming down from those highs took months. Literally months. And even as New York City gets set for the third stage of reopening, there’s a good chance we could find ourselves back to where we were in March. April. May. And most of June.

Trump hopes that by ignoring the virus, it will simply go away. But SARS-CoV-2 isn’t a bully — it’s a killer. And while it might not claim the lives of you — or us — it will come after those we love dearly, who don’t deserve to be victimized by a disease we could have prevented.

Wear your mask. Stay six feet away from everyone. Don’t go out unless you have to.

A.J. Parkinson once said “today we must consider an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere.” Parkinson might be a fictional philosopher created by the Cuomo family, but he’s right.

We need vigilance, not complacency. Or we’ll find ourselves doing this all over again.

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