COVID-19 Update: Six Months On

The pandemic tested our patience and resolve. As much as we want to return to our normal routines – even if you’re still wearing a mask – we bless the changes in our routine. 

It has been painful. So far, we survived six months' worth of uncertainty and additional challenges to our soul and psyche. For a majority of us, coping and getting by are not working effectively as we hoped. 

And, yes, a lot of things have been cancelled. The latest one came from the media association I am member of. The Midwest Automotive Media Association announced the cancellation of their combined media confab scheduled for Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The reasons are multi-fold, with COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin on the rise and the concerns of several stakeholders regarding travel arrangements and comfort levels with up to a couple of hundred people in attendance within a single space. 

In a short time afterwards, the car community crew Drive Cartel announced their cancellation of their Modest show scheduled for the RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul. The main concerns cited were the "current restrictions and guidelines for indoor events" throughout Minnesota and, in particular, its state capitol. 

These were two events I was really looking forward to attending and participating. However, I was not surprised by these cancellations. In fact, I’m actually OK with them. 

Some people are not. Some people have been frustrated at the way this pandemic has been handled. Some people feel that these restrictions and guidelines hurt personal freedom and liberty, instead of helping to control the virus within our communities. 

There are guidelines that do not match up with others. In Minnesota, you must enter into a restaurant that allows for dining inside with a non-medical mask on. You can remove the mask when you are eating and drinking, but you must re-mask yourself when you move about the premises. However, you do not have to wear a mask outside – as long as you’re social distancing. 

In recent events that I have attended, there had been some criticism on photographs on our social media channels that showed people not wearing masks. Granted, these situations show that they fit within the state’s guidelines. We were eating, being with our significant others, and so forth. To my knowledge, none of us were exposed to the COVID-19 virus. That’s pretty damn lucky, if you ask me. 

You try to tell people about social distancing, mask-wearing, sticking to localized guidelines. What guarantee will people not follow your requests? Is it my fault as an organizer or photographer if they appear to not follow the localized guidelines?

Because of the feedback from a couple of commentors on posts from my channels, I’m considered a hypocrite.  Thanks, America!

This is the frustration we’re having right now. Six months since we shut down as a society, and we’re still bringing out the dead. It’s been a month-and-a-half since my road trip to Kansas City, Omaha, and Wichita, and the positive test results are still adding up across the country and around the world. 

Certainly, there are plenty of things I want to say about all of the above. Considering my temperament and personal well-being, it is best not to write them down on this website. 

I keep telling myself that things will improve. Cases will go down, more people will recover, and the deaths will decrease. The automotive media corps will get back to working auto shows and media events. We will see larger turnouts at car meets. We will see an uptick in our economy towards the level of normality from before the first COVID-19 case was recorded. 

Or, maybe not. 

Who knows how long we will deal with this? There are many factors that could factor in on whether we see a second wave of this virus or that the response against it in this country will change. 

It does come down to us. Our collective resolve will carry us through. Masking might be inconvenient for some; mandatory for others. But, if the sign on the door of the place you’re going into says "you must wear a mask before you enter," just do what it says. 

And, practice social distancing. As hard as it may be for some to measure six feet away (or two meters) from each other, it is probably necessary if you’re around people who do not live with you or are related to you. 

With that said, I hate to lament the absence of a few things in our lives. Professionally, we shake hands. For the ones we care about the most, we hug. I miss those. 

For how long will we be able to shake hands or hug again on a regular basis? At this point, we don’t know. 

For how long will we have events such as the MAMA Spring or Fall Rally or Drive Cartel’s Modest show, again on our calendars? Again, we really don’t know. 

As long as our resolve continues and we can maintain any level of emotional health, we can still get through this. At least, that’s what I hope. 

All photos by Randy Stern

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