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Who's to blame? Hint: It's not Kate Brown

As I read in the Nov. 26 MT that Gov. Kate Brown had clamped down on most of Oregon’s counties because of spikes in COVID-19, I wondered, “Has she gone too far?”

Have local, state, and national politicians infringed on our civil liberties? Are they to blame for the increase in COVID cases? Is it the media, such as CNN and Fox News? Is it the CDC and NIH? Are the restaurant and bar owners to blame? Have all the globe’s doctors and medical experts conspired to concoct a hoax for some personal or monetary gain? In some twisted manner, by way of our sports-crazy, competitive nature, are we intentionally trying to eclipse the record deaths from the 1918 Spanish flu? The answer to all of these questions is no.

When I informed my 93- and 97-year-old parents that we would not be bringing them to our house for Thanksgiving, Dad was totally understanding. He even said, “That’s OK — we’ll celebrate next November.”

If I were to spread the virus to my parents’ senior facility because I was unknowingly asymptomatic, and my parents and other residents subsequently died, I’m not sure I could live with myself. That’s the risk that’s out there.

Once the weather turned colder, we could no longer dine or gather outdoors. Being forced indoors is a test of our strength.

We’re close to a vaccine, but realistically have more than a few months before one has been administered to the masses. Now is the time for us to show our resolve and be more vigilant than ever. Instead of thinking about your freedom being taken away, think about the well-being of your family and friends. How will you feel if you spread the virus and they die?

What is it about Americans that we show an overwhelming outpouring of support when confronted with a natural disaster, but in the face of a pandemic we have mostly turned a blind eye to our neighbor? Is it because we can see the physical destruction caused by an earthquake, a fire or a tornado but we are unable to see the destruction caused by the pandemic? Are we really that selfish?

Though some may think that COVID is a political issue because many have tried to make it one, it’s a global health crisis. Lives are in danger and our democratic government has some responsibility to ensure our well-being. Look at other countries who don a mask without being told by their government and their numbers are down.

I really don’t like wearing a mask when out shopping — but I wear one. To the young girl at Ruby’s a couple months ago who blasted me for not maintaining my distance from her outdoor table — I deserved it.

So, who’s to blame?

We are.

Peter Anastos lives in Ashland.

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