An alliterative warning to all the lemmings in the land: Look before you leap.
You will soon see them in droves at the malls, theaters, museums, stadiums, stores, restaurants, schools, intensive care units and cemeteries. You will then watch as the second wave of COVID-19 washes the lemmings into the sea, gone forever until the next wave of lemmings.
A lemming is described as “a small, short-tailed, thickset rodent related to the voles, found in the Arctic tundra” but more to the point, lemming is another name for “a person who unthinkingly joins a mass movement, especially a headlong rush to destruction.”
The Urban Dictionary describes the lemming as: “A member of a crowd with no originality or voice of his own. One who speaks or repeats only what he has been told. A tool. A cretin.
“Ya think he’ll do it?”
“He’s a lemming, he’ll do anything he’s told.”
A Quora comment put it better than I could in describing lemmings as: “Mindless drones, loyalists, brainless idiots, unthinking, yes men, airhead, bonehead, birdbrain, knucklehead, laimbrain, weakminded, uninformed, foolish and negligent.”
Maybe the Pied Piper in the White House will lead the way for his lemmings into the abyss.
I, for one, will not be a lemming just waiting for the second COVID-19 wave to strike.
The national COVID-19 lockdown has been in effect for about two months. People have generally responded well, understanding the seriousness of the pandemic and the need for precautions. But we still don’t understand many aspects of the virus, including how it spreads, who is vulnerable and how it can be stopped. The numbers show the rate of infection has dropped but there are far too few viral test kits available to get a true picture of the extent of the pandemic.
But like babies who can’t have their way, many people are having temper tantrums because they have had enough of quarantining, masks and take-out meals. And they’re not going to take it any more. They’ve heard all they need to hear. Enough.
You hear their mantra: It’s time to get back to normal. COVID-19, however, has its own clock and it will end when it’s ready and not when the American public says it’s ready.
After two months in lockdown, all 50 states have begun to reopen. Alaska has the lowest number of positive cases and deaths and stands out as the leading lemming. Gov. Mike Dunleavy will allow restaurants, bars, gyms and others to return to full capacity. Sports and recreational activities will be allowed.
“It will all be open, just like it was prior to the virus,” Dunleavy told the New York Times.
Alaska is called “The Last Frontier.” It should be renamed as “Dumb and Dumber.” It is the state that brought us the great and wise Sarah Palin who could see Russia from her window.
The leading epidemiologists warn that a second wave of the virus is likely and the country should be ready and prepared for new lockdowns and possibly even stricter measures. I trust these scientists a bit more than I trust the nudnik politicians who count economic losses above human misery.
Gov. Dunleavy thinks he knows better.
For the record, Dunleavy, a Republican (can you say ‘red state’), was elected in 2018 and was promptly the target of a recall effort over his cuts to public assistance, education and the University of Alaska. Petitions with 49,006 signatures were submitted but the Alaska Division of Elections declined to certify the recall petition, saying that the allegations Dunleavy did not meet the listed grounds for recall, including neglect of duty, incompetence, or lack of fitness.
I realize that many states will recommend or require certain precautions like masks and proper distancing. Lemmings are not known for keeping their distance; in fact, they like to leap off cliffs in large numbers while holding hands.
In time, the few masks you’ll see will be worn by the Lone Ranger, Batman and Spiderman. Being superheroes, they don’t need protection. Not so much for the rest of us.
Take a look around and see how peoples’ patience is running out. The six-feet social distancing is getting smaller. Backyard barbecues are returning. There are long lines of mask-less people waiting to get into health clubs that have opened illegally.
I will not risk my health or the health of my family until the scientists tell me the virus is either gone or under control. I certainly won’t listen to the Pied Piper who claims the number of COVID-19 deaths is largely exaggerated and whose son says the virus is a Democratic plot and it will miraculously vanish the day after the November presidential election.
I want advice from someone who knows what he is talking about and not someone who encourages people to fight the virus with a largely untested malaria drug that can cause serious heart problems.
Phil Garber is a veteran editor and reporter. This piece was originally published here.