Constable: Ready ... set ... hey, hold on a sec on the pandemic reopening
During this COVID-19 pandemic, the only thing we have to fear is ... well, that depends on who you are, where you are, what you are doing and what everybody else around you is doing.
Uncertainty is the key word for 2020, and I'm not a fan of ambiguity. In 2003, I wrote a column boldly predicting Barack Obama could be president someday, and I was right. In 2016, I arrogantly assured my worried mom that America would never elect a reality TV celebrity as president, and I was wrong. I confidently told readers the Chicago Cubs had what it took to win the World Series, and I was right -- in 2016 -- and wrong, well, every other year.
It's not pleasant to be wrong, but there is some comfort in voicing a well-researched opinion -- right or wrong.
I can't do that with COVID-19. I don't know the answers. I do know that people were wrong when they compared the lockdown to slavery and equated Gov. J.B. Pritzker with Hitler. I can't believe some people need to hear this, but being ripped from your family, sold, whipped, gassed and treated as property is not the same as being forced to order takeout food.
Friday, we move beyond all that nonsense as we transition into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. I'll probably still write Phase 3 on my checks.
My wife and I keep our masks with us during neighborhood walks. We don't wear them unless someone approaches and neither of us can gracefully step into the street. We have a set of rules, which no one else seems to know. If a single walker approaches a couple coming from the other direction, the single walker must veer out of the way to avoid breathing on the couple. However, if one old person is approaching two young people, the youngsters must yield the right of way.
We've walked to restaurants with outdoor seating, but end up getting takeout because I'm not comfortable with the table spacing.
The lakefront is open. Is that safe? Restaurants will have indoor social-distancing dining. Is that safe? Is a half-full movie theater safe, and will patrons keep their distance and wear masks?
Even in the pre-pandemic years, I didn't trust movie patrons to abide by the regulations against carrying on conversations and texting while flipping off anyone who shushes.
Bars are open. Is that safe? What if there are only 50 people in a bar, but they all are crowded around the guy tying cherry stems into knots with only his tongue?
Will we have baseball at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field in 2020? Will there be fans? Will it be safe? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. But if there is a World Series, I confidently predict the Cubs have what it takes to win it.
The book club my wife and I belong to includes an infectious disease doctor, a registered nurse and two medical writers. We haven't met in person in months. Our three sons, coming from New Orleans, Ohio and Los Angeles, all have expressed concerns about not wanting to bring home the virus and kill me, a 62-year-old guy with asthma. Then my wife, one of the medical writers mentioned earlier, shows me a story that suggests asthma isn't as big of a health risk as originally thought. She, however, with her type A blood, might have an increased risk.
I've read stories of old people, young healthy people and even kids dying from COVID-19. And I've read stories of old people, sick people and in-your-face stupid people surviving COVID-19. Oh, and the FDA now says the wrong hand sanitizer could kill you. I'm not sure about any of this. When will COVID-19 all be a painful memory?
I don't know. Maybe when we enter Phase 5?