Editorial: Here comes the sun, but don’t forget the clouds before it | Viewpoint

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A heat wave has ravaged McLean County this past week.

It’s true. The sun has returned from its Valentine’s Sabbatical, most of the snow is gone and meat enthusiasts are grilling again.

In all seriousness, there is a high of 57 degrees on Saturday, Feb. 27 — take a walk, throw a frisbee, do something to enjoy the weather. Nobody gets enough vitamin D as it is, take advantage of the beautiful weather planet Earth has to offer, before it inevitably kills us all as payback for humankind’s half-century of destroying it.

Vaccines, falling infection rates, the return of sports, no more episodes of ”The Apprentice: White House Edition,” this week’s weather — it’s all great, and all a source for optimism.

However, vaccinated or not — we can’t ease up on our precautions and behavior now. The virus is still just as deadly as it was 10 months ago. Collectively getting lackadaisical with things like mask-wearing, social gatherings, etc. — which, when the weather warms up, is easier to do than one may think — will only lead to excess, yet preventable, death and problems for those left who escaped it.

It may still be a while before our pre-pandemic way of life returns, if ever. Nonetheless, a sense of normalcy in America is finally starting to return. But, for that normalcy to actually come back, we have to do two things that we’ve collectively gotten pretty bad at: thinking about others and getting out of our own way. Much like the Rolling Stones, America needs a comeback tour to pay the bills. But Mick Jagger can’t ”live it up” the way he used to 50 years ago, or he and the band won’t make it to the end of the tour. And neither will we.

No country could’ve escaped this pandemic unscathed, but science tells us that the healthier ones (as in, the ones that don’t live on fast-food and have governments that prioritize health care over National Rifle Association funding and Q-anon coddling) have fared much better in fighting COVID-19. In fact, word on the street is — the healthier you are, the better your body can fight ANY disease. See the problem here? Saudi Arabia is built on oil reserves, America is built on mounds of salt and sugar. Research clearly shows that people who are not in good physical condition (which happens from poor diet and lack of exercise) have a significantly worse risk of dying from the virus. Same goes for obese people, except worse. And yet, much of the country spent 2020 arguing over the right to show off lipstick in Target.

We can eat like nobody’s watching, we can behave like nobody’s dying but we can’t do both. 

The virus doesn’t care about the nice weather, it doesn’t care that you miss tank tops nor does it care that you miss drinking with 40 other people. Nobody’s saying to lock yourself in a bunker. Justin Timberlake can bring “sexy back”, but he can’t bring indoor dining back. And if someone you know gets sick because you got antsy to live like it’s 2019 when the snow melted, he won’t be able to bring them back either. Continued vigilance, by everyone, is the only way.

The combination of nice weather and vaccines is getting people excited. This is good, but the pandemic still isn’t over. COVID-19 fatigue is real; even the virus-deniers are tired of denying. Everyone wants it to be over, but that doesn’t matter. The aforementioned Rolling Stones wrote a song that went: “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

These days, we have to do more than just ”drink responsibly,” We have to THINK responsibly. Protect oneself, protect one’s neighbors, protect the world. It’s not hard, most of us are just soft. So, take the Stones’ advice, and just keep trying to do your part in staying safe. Don’t let a little sunshine turn you into “Mr./Mrs. Party Foul” — or, in this case: “Mr./Mrs. Pandemic Foul.”

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