Too many want to shoot the messenger, especially in times like these, with the coronavirus pandemic. 

When reputable press outlets report on what is happening, some blame the media for fanning the flames of COVID-19 hysteria. It is not hysteria when you or a loved one has been diagnosed.

Cases of COVID-19 are surging throughout the country, including many states that reopened sooner than was prudent. The governor of Texas had to pause the state’s reopening efforts and is making it mandatory to wear masks in some counties.

Health experts have said all along that social distancing and wearing masks are key to slowing the spread of the insidious virus. Yet, some still flout that advice and turn wearing a mask during a pandemic into a battle of personal rights and liberties. 

Society has had to deal with health recommendations in a matter of weeks. It took years for the public to accept and buy into the need for seat belts. There are people today who don’t wear their seat belts while in their vehicle, but that number is, arguably, minute. Can we expect hundreds of millions of people to make change on a dime? We should. No one would put their toddler out on a busy freeway, that’s just crazy. The metaphor is apt for wearing a mask. You may not get hit by a truck, but why not do everything in our power to stay safe and healthy?

We all wish COVID-19 would be done and over. Nature doesn’t work that way. We must all remain vigilant for ourselves and others. It is important to keep in mind of where we are:

• The pandemic is not over even if the economy’s reopening enters into different phases. Reopening doesn’t translate into ‘over.’

• Many of the newest cases are hitting Millenials and GenZers; their death rates may be lower than older people, but the effects will be long lasting.

• A person can feel fine but be asymptomatic, meaning they carry the virus and can spread it to others without knowing it, thus the importance of distancing and masks.

• Of course more tests for COVID-19 will result in more reported cases. If someone has COVID-19 but doesn’t get tested, they still have the disease.

• No government official wakes up in the morning wondering how they can mess up the day of the public. We don’t know everything there is to know about COVID-19, but thousands of scientists and researchers are working tirelessly to understand the virus and how to combat it.

On COVID-19 pundits trade in opinion and ideology. The media reports on the facts and news of COVID-19. Don’t shoot the messenger presenting information that is key to surviving this pandemic.

 (Lyndon Zaitz is publisher of the Keizertimes.)