CULTON: Let’s take things seriously this time

This feels like déjà vu.

Sunday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced new Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 restrictions to last three weeks. The new orders close high schools to in-person learning, shutter in-person dining and limit gatherings of people from more than one household.

While the new orders are less strict than the ones that were handed down in March and April, I still had the same feeling of disappointment I felt in the spring that I did watching Sunday’s press conference.

It was a reminder that life is not normal right now, things are shutting down again and that we are going to feel the same isolation and distance from our friends and neighbors that we did at the start of the pandemic.

And we have no one to blame but ourselves for the newest COVID-19 orders.

So many people did not take this pandemic seriously. So many people refused to wear masks, social distance or change anything about their lifestyle. As a result, cases have climbed dramatically. People have gotten sick and died, and so much of it could have been prevented if we all just did our part.

Lest I sound too preachy, I acknowledge that I also could have done more to slow the spread of the virus. I could have, and should have, stayed in more, and limited my shopping trips and exposure to family and friends outside my household.

So now, we have to get it right this time.

We have to wear our masks like they are the pinnacle of fashion. We have to stay inside with members of our household. We have to wash our hands and maintain social distancing like our lives depend on it — because, well, they kind of do.

Instead of just hopping across the border to Indiana to sit down in a restaurant, order takeout from our local businesses and stay home. Instead of wading through big crowds searching for Christmas gifts, shop online. Instead of risking the health of our families and friends by meeting in person this holiday season, let’s find other ways to interact, such as virtually.

If we do these things during this three-week order, there is a chance things could go back to normal, and we can get on with our lives, while saving lives.

I wrote essentially this same column in March. If we all take the pandemic and these precautions seriously this time, hopefully we won’t all be feeling déjà vu again another eight months from now.

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