Have fun — but stay safe as COVID lingers

Many areas of the state — including San Patricio and Refugio counties — begin to see more businesses re-opening, some parks opening and restaurants starting to serve dine-in customers, and that’s a blessing.

Like in other parts of the country, Texans are going stir crazy. As the weather gets warmer, people want to be out and about. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but it’s important that we stay careful and continue to do those things that helped us stay safe during a time of isolation and closures.

Some people say the restrictions went too far, and others likely wish they would have continued even longer. You can debate that issue all day long and find experts on both sides of the argument who make valid points.

There was no easy answer, but the good news is that in hopes of “flattening the curve” and reducing the escalation of coronavirus spread, efforts appear to have made a big difference. One of my contacts on Facebook who favors continuing the restrictions a while longer in order to promote public health and safety admitted in his post that Texans didn’t just flatten the curve, they stomped on it. Unfortunately, during the last few days COVID-19 cases rose, so we aren’t out of the woods just yet.

The big uncertainty about COVID-19 is how it affects people. While the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions were deemed to be most at risk, there were cases of younger people in the prime of their life being harmed or even killed by coronavirus. In many of those cases, there were no known preexisting conditions.

Other people are thought to have contracted the virus and had mild or even no symptoms. That’s great for them but not so good for the people to whom they may have spread the disease and weren’t so fortunate.

There’s a tendency for us to want to return to life as it was before COVID-19, and that’s only natural. Businesses have suffered; isolation isn’t easy — especially for those who are used to enjoying social situations, and after being cooped up there’s a desire to get out and go somewhere.

Again, that’s not a bad thing, but we still need to be careful about where we go, continue social distancing as much as possible and rely on the emphasis on frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizers that helped us keep the situation from being even worse than it was.

A trip to a park, the beach or another venue may offer a welcome change from sitting in front of the computer or TV for hours on end, but finding a more secluded spot to enjoy the great outdoors would make it even better.

We need to make sure we don’t let down our guard and allow the coronavirus crisis to flare back up in a significant way.

It may be good to fall back on the advice that trusted parents and grandparents (or in my case, a great-grandparent) offered us, which still holds true more than ever: Have fun — but stay safe.

Jeff Osborne is the editor of the Refugio County Press and the News of San Patricio.