NOVAK: It is time to rally the troops to fight COVID

Usually, in this space, I write about sports that have happened, or about to happen, or about something special that took place in the sports arena.

Today, I want to use this space to talk about something that is not quite sports-related, but if we do not adhere to what I am about to say, it could be a long time before we get back to having sports at the local level at least.

I have been getting pretty frustrated by all the people who think they know better than the scientists and the government officials who are trying their best to create a safe situation for everyone based on what we know about COVID-19. I am amazed at how many scientists I know based on their postings on Facebook and conversations I have had.

If you think I am just a bleeding heart who wants to follow the leadership of our state and national governments blindly, you could not be more wrong. My livelihood is based on getting out there and covering sports. I want as much as anyone to have sports back.

But I am also smart enough to know if we do not follow the guidelines that have been established by those who do these things for a living, we are going to have to wait a lot longer than a couple of months. I know that ignoring those guidelines will produce at least a spike, if not another wave of COVID, which will all but make sure we do not have sports this coming fall.

I completely understand the plight of small businesses and workers. You need your job just as much as I need mine. But if we can show a little patience now, the results could be devastating. If you think your needs are more important than the greater good, then you are a selfish individual who puts money ahead of lives.

I have argued with plenty of people about relaxing the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders that we are currently under until Mid-June. People want our governor to relax them. They want her to open things up like beaches and parks. They say they will follow the social distancing guidelines.

That is a nice thought in theory, but the reality showed this weekend in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan, where beaches were packed with people, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder, many of them not wearing masks. It only takes a few people in those crowds to be affected with the coronavirus for it to get a foothold and spread like wildfire, which will cause a spike or another outbreak.

Then we are back to square one. I do not want to go backward in this fight to eradicate the virus. I want us to battle forward like the advancing line of soldiers, cutting down the virus with every step they take.

There are many reasons we need to heed the warning of those who have studied these viruses. We need to have our government step up the testing and tracing of individuals who have contacted the disease so that they can come up with a vaccine to eradicate it. But it seems as though some are more interested in playing political games than doing what is necessary to end COVID-19.

As an independent voter, I would like to take both sides to task. I am not going to bother pointing the finger at anybody because that does us no good. It just wastes more time. I would ask both parties, at the national and state levels, to get their acts together, stop playing politics and draw this country together to battle the common enemy.

When Americans decide to get behind something, there is no stopping them. We need someone to take the lead, galvanize the population and get the war on COVID-19 ramped up.

Our livelihoods depend on it.

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com.

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