Living and working in a vacation hot-spot has given me new insight and appreciation for what it really means to be a "tourist".
A once sleepy little hamlet in southern Missouri...
Began to awaken a few decades ago when people began to discover the tranquility and beauty of the Ozarks. Then more people came for the music, the lake, and a quaint little theme park that lived here.
Then more, and more, and more, until one day, COVID-19 arrived. All was shut down, people lost jobs, employers lost businesses, and things grew desperate. Then the Government stepped in and helped create a vaccine to battle this nasty virus and people began to take the vaccine.
But not those people in this quiet little hamlet; no sir. They fought for their rights to not have their faces covered by demeaning masks, to not take the vaccine as it wasn't safe or proven or against their rights as human beings. And so, they had far too many who refused to protect themselves and others against this dreaded virus.
Then, one day after the travel ban had been lifted, and businesses reopened and people from across the nation began to travel to the area again, they rejoiced, for their livelihood had been reawakened and they could earn a living once more. But, the cost was that they would be exposed to the virus and possibly become ill. They didn't care, because they could earn money again and they had their rights!
After the nation's birthday that summer, something began to occur. People began to fall ill, seriously ill and go to the hospital. The hospital began to fill, then overflow with cases of COVID and there was nowhere to put the sick people. The emergency room began to become so full the staff was overwhelmed and people died waiting on assistance. But still, the people cried out against the vaccine and masks, refusing to follow common-sense steps to save themselves.
Today, we find ourselves with the highest infection rate in the state, possibly the country. It has eclipsed the rate during the winter of 2020-2021 and looks to continue climbing. People have died, yet the residents of Branson refuse to get a vaccine or wear a mask, crying out that it would deny them their rights as Americans.
And now, Chicago has instituted a travel ban on Missouri and Arkansas as states that people who travel from to Chicago will have to quarantine or submit a negative COVID test as proof of not carrying the virus back to Chicago.
But why? Why is this virus erupting again in our area? Is it because we have a population that is dead set against protecting itself? Is it because we have an influx of people from everywhere, vacationing and bringing it with them and spreading it among the people who refuse to be protected?
Yes, I believe so. Those who are traveling more than likely have been inoculated and are immune, yet they can still carry this virus and spread it to those who haven't been. And here in our area, we have a majority of the population who are not and are ripe for receiving the virus.
Where I live and work...
I am the Community Manager for a condo community which also has nightly vacation rentals. We are on the shores of Table Rock Lake and have a healthy amount of tourists from all across the country come and stay with us all summer long. Thus far this year I have witnessed car license plates from 47 of the 50 states, lacking only Rhode Island, Delaware and Hawaii. Last year we had a clean sweep including Hawaii, Alaska and Costa Rica (how that car got here I'll never know).
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What this means during a pandemic is, everyone is leaving where they are and going where they want to, bringing their version of the virus with them. They then leave and return to their home, possibly bringing several variants with them as they travel.
A true melting pot of humanity carrying a pot luck of a virus with them wherever they travel.
Meanwhile, residents here are continuing to refuse to exercise common sense and wear a mask or get a vaccination. I watched last summer as the ruling body for Branson held meetings to determine if a mask mandate was going to be put in effect and residents fought tooth and nail to forestall it, arguing and fighting to preserve "their right to breathe". The ordinance passed, but was removed early this year because of the resistance that continued to be displayed by local residents. COVID numbers declined, and people began to move about again, even without getting a vaccine.
U.S. COVID Risk & Vaccine Tracker. All 50 states. 3,000+ counties.
And now we find ourselves in a predicament
Today, the level for infections hit a record high again, over 100 people per 100,000; far higher than at any time during the height of last year's outbreak or the winter spent in hiding by many. But what is the real reason behind the rise? Fear? Free will? Confusion? Ignorance? Or is it simple stubbornness?
Personally, I think it is all of the above for different sections of our society. And so long as these reasons exist there will be some vestige of the virus in society. While I was unsure in the beginning what or how to handle what it was, it didn't take too long before I realized it was a killer and took steps to avoid it. Unfortunately, a lot of others haven't learned/understood/whatever yet and they continue to lead themselves and others into the ranks of the pandemic victims.
And there is no need. Simple precautions like masks in company, getting a vaccine and avoiding crowds will reduce this to manageable levels or even eliminate it. But that means those who refuse to try must try, must trust, must put their thoughts aside and join those of us who are already on board.
So what do we in the vaccinated do moving forward?
So, do the portion of the population who have submitted and received their vaccines just go on with our lives, ignoring what is taking place? After all, the number of us who are coming down with the virus are small in number so we can assume we won't fall ill. Or do we continue to wear a mask, protecting our brothers and sisters and inhibiting the transmission of it? Can we eradicate it even if only a portion of the country/world refuse to be vaccinated?
Or do we live our lives and let the chips fall where they may? We can; we got the vaccine, they didn't. Or can we look at this another way, one which has already been shown as acceptable?
Smokers know, or at least they damn well should, that smoking can kill them yet they ignore every warning, advisement, fact and continue to smoke. They don't give a rat's ass about the rest of us who don't smoke and smoke in places that we are at, allowing their death stench to waft over us and inflict their choice upon us. Pot smokers are the same way, in my experience. I have had them smoke with the windows open here and allow it to cover the entire property with their choice. It has come from cars passing by with the windows open and even though we do not partake, we still have to endure. There are endless examples of others not caring about others, those who do not share their vices and habits, so why should we care for them? After all it is their choice to not take precautions.
And that is probably the direction I will go. I care and so I took precautions to protect me and mine. They haven't, through choice, and they will reap the "benefits" of not wearing a mask and breathing easier than those of us who choose to, and they can live (or not) with the reality of not being vaccinated against the virus.
Those who are immunocomprimised have fewer choices, and it is for them that I worry about. Those who can carry it (us) and those who choose to not be safe (anti-vaxxers) can create an issue that results in possible death for them.
There just is no truly safe path through this thing for everyone. No single path, anyway.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Mr Archer