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Risk and reward

In the midst of a pandemic, opinions, like rumors, are prevalent. Currently, one of the hot topics is the need for social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most won’t disagree that it’s necessary, however, many have been vocal about the measures taken to enforce social distancing. This includes the closing of some businesses and “stay home” orders from state and/or local governments.

An example of this would be Gov. Roy Cooper’s order that all restaurants with seating areas be closed to only take-out and delivery options, as well as the Pitt County Board of Commissioners, now also Greenville’s city council, instructing Pitt County and Greenville residents to stay home, unless it’s absolutely essential that one goes out — to the grocery store or to pick up prescriptions (though delivery/take-out/drive-thru options are probably the best bet for some of these tasks).

While many people are taking the recommended precautions very seriously and are practicing social distancing, along with washing hands thoroughly and frequently, others are not. In fact, there are many who are flouting these new life-saving conventions entirely. A house party of young people in Kentucky, held for the purpose of thumbing noses at COVID-19, did not go as planned, after one partygoer tested positive for the virus. Now each person at that party is likely in quarantine for two weeks, and came into contact with many people since — perhaps parents, grandparents, people with underlying medical conditions, weakened immune systems and more.

Those people chose to risk the lives of others to get the immediate reward of hanging out with friends, a good time. This risk was not worth the reward.

This is how all Americans, all North Carolinians, all Beaufort County residents, need to be thinking these days, whether or not you think “stay home” orders and business closures are the right measures to take: the risk is not worth it. Is that gathering of more than 50 people worth the risk of infecting vulnerable people? Is the meal eaten in the crowded dining room of a favorite restaurant worth the risk of contact with COVID-19? Is that pick-up basketball game, even on an outdoor court, worth exposing a loved one to the virus?

No, it’s not.

If we do not take the risks, if our neighbors don’t take the risks, if our family members don’t take the risks, we will get to the ultimate reward much faster — the ultimate reward of COVID-19 being a part of our past, not our future.