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Local Editorials

OUR VIEW: Keeping your distance from others isn’t too much to ask

Government officials have taken drastic measures during the coronavirus pandemic to limit the spread of this deadly disease, ensure treatment for those who contract it, and educate the public on the whys and wherefores of their decisions.

We’re hardly out of the woods in the battle against COVID-19. Victims keep losing their lives in staggering numbers.

Yet, amid the clamors of a restive public, officials are coming out with guidelines and strategies to ease the restrictions that have caused massive unemployment and kept many people sheltering at home.

Social distancing, where people are advised to stay at least 6 feet apart, was sound advice when the idea was put forth during the pandemic’s early days. It remains sound advice now, and will continue to be sound advice in the days ahead.

It assumes that everyone could be an unwitting carrier of the coronavirus. Therefore, by observing social distancing, the virus’s ability to spread through the air is thwarted.

As restrictions are eased so certain places can reopen and people can again get out and about, officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing to make the reopening process as safe as possible.

The question is, are we, the people, holding up our end of the bargain?

The weather is getting warmer, and people are anxious to get outside, but over this past weekend – one of the nicest we've had in a while – we noticed many instances where people disregarded the notion of social distancing.

A group of 10 children were seen jumping on the same trampoline. Groups of people strolled with only a few inches in between them. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was outraged upon learning about planned house parties, noting we’re never going to get out of this crisis if people continue flouting stay-at-home orders and social distancing.

Several public protests to reopen the economy have taken place across the region, but perhaps what we're seeing in neighborhoods is a bored or lackadaisical reaction to the orders. Or, there's a feeling of security when people are at home or at a family member's home. But frankly, our actions today will determine the longevity of the stay-at-home order.

Seeing government officials on the screen telling you what to do and not to do for your own good, the temptation to revert to normal behavior is strong, almost like when a kid rebels against parental authority.

But we’ve all got to be adults in this crisis. Personal responsibility is paramount. Individuals must take responsibility to fight the spread of this virus, one action at a time.

And we have the advantage over the virus in one respect. We’ve got brains, the virus does not, and we can outsmart the virus through practices such as social distancing.

Let’s use our heads, continue social distancing, and beat this thing.

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