• IT SHOULD come as no surprise that Macon County has taken a big step back, along with most of the rest of Illinois, in our fight to defeat COVID-19 and its variants. Despite the pleading, begging and warnings issued by about all segments of our community in leadership and professional services positions, only a little over 41% of the residents of Macon County have been vaccinated.
From personal observation, caution has been thrown to the wind and beliefs about “conspiracies” or the “government is not going to tell me what to do” attitudes, plus an endless flow of misinformation have stalled the vaccination rate for several months. Most people have also taken off their masks thinking the threat of getting sick from COVID-19 was over. Such carelessness has led to an increasing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in our county. Deaths last week ranged in age from the 30s to 80s so younger people are also dying from COVID-19 and its variants.
Now, we have been ordered through action by Governor J.B. Pritzker to wear masks in indoor settings whether we have been vaccinated or not. How many more people will have to get very sick, or die, before a majority of county residents take the necessary steps to stop the COVID-19 madness? Although vaccinated people have also contracted COVID, a very low percentage of vaccinated people with COVID are in area hospitals’ ICUs, on ventilators or dying from the virus.
• IF IT wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable, how some anti-vaxxers will not be vaccinated because they think the vaccine is “poison” but are taking animal dewormer as a preventive tool in beating COVID-19. Health authorities are urging people to stop taking Ivermectin, and poison control centers report calls related to the drug are soaring. Last week, Marcus Cooper, a spokesman for the Texas Medical Association, said taking unprescribed livestock medication is not the answer to COVID-19. “The solution is to get vaccinated and use the mask,” Cooper told Al Dia, The Dallas Morning News’ Spanish-language publication.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a blunt warning. “You are not a horse,” the agency said. “You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
• SO, HERE WE are on Labor Day of 2021 with an immediate future that doesn’t look bright because of the refusal of a lot of people to take COVID-19, the killer among us, seriously. While social media continues to grind out conspiracy theories about COVID-19, resulting in many people not wearing a mask or getting vaccinated — friends, neighbors and family members of all ages continue to get sick and sometimes die. We have the weapons in our hands to defeat this virus but not the unity and will to do it. Thank God, social media didn’t exist during World War II or we would all be speaking German today!
• DENNIS COOPER has been chosen by the Decatur City Council as the replacement for Councilman Rodney Walker. Eleven residents applied for the position. That number was reduced to four and the council interviewed the four in executive session Monday night. The council then made the decision of Cooper official by a unanimous public vote. Cooper will be sworn in as the new councilman at the next council meeting on Sept. 7.
• CRAZY DRIVER — A staff member came into my office one day last week and said “You won’t believe what I just saw!” She had gone down to the main floor of our building to mail a few letters in one of the mail boxes on the sidewalk and that’s when she saw something very unusual — a woman was driving her car on the sidewalk in front of the building! No kidding! I guess that’s what you do if traffic is too heavy on the street — drive on the sidewalk! The sidewalk in front of our building is wide enough that a car will fit on it, but the thought of someone actually driving on it never occurred to me until I heard about this incident. I’ve had to dodge bike riders who were moving through on the sidewalk (illegally, of course) but I never heard (or saw) someone drivng a car on the sidewalk! I’ve written in previous columns how it seems to me that people are driving and parking crazier since the pandemic started than at anytime I can remember.
I don’t think there’s a vaccine that prevents crazy driving but if there was, anyone driving a car on a downtown sidewalk should have their name at the top of the list for the shot. Whether you are walking or driving, be extra careful these days and look out for drivers that seem to have lost their minds! Beware of COVID-19 — or a car on a sidewalk! Either one can cause serious problems.
• IT IS a great time for our area to host the Farm Progress Show again for three days this week. The show provides global recognition and an economic boost for the area.
• THANKS to the Friends of the Library for making the difficult decision to postpone its annual Labor Day Book Sale because of health concerns for those who would attend. (Page 15 of print edition) More and more events are being cancelled and/or postponed because of the growing concern over COVID-19 and its variants — and more and more businesses are experiencing financial difficulties with tighter mandates.
Stay safe everyone.