STAFF OPINION: We need to keep caring about COVID-19

By Austin De Dios | September 10, 2021 10:49am

Austin De Dios, editor-in-chief for 2021-22.

Media Credit: Brennan Crowder / The Beacon

It was 547 days ago that we took to our homes like hermits, hiding from something we couldn’t see and didn’t understand. 

Businesses shuttered, lives were upended and people died. We’ve spent the last 547 days under the dark clouds of COVID-19. 

To help curb the spread of the virus, we were given a simple task: Wear a mask or facial covering to protect those around us. Many of us listened. 

Low and behold, a light broke through. The vaccine became our hope, our ticket out of this abyss, our savior. It brought us the closest we’ve been to normality in over a year, and it was beautiful. 

But right as we started healing the wounds, a new threat came to open them all over again. We call it Delta, and it’s no joke. 

The truth is, we’re breaking records, and not the good kind. On Aug. 27, Oregon reported 3,207 cases, the highest daily case count yet. Since setting that record, daily case counts have rarely been below 2,000. Only 7% of adult ICU beds are available in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority. 

In addition to getting vaccinated, we’re being asked to do what we did only a few months ago: wear a mask. 

I understand that many people are exhausted. They just want the pandemic to end. No more tests, no more hearing, “Are you vaccinated?” and no more masks. 

If we could just wish the pandemic away, we would have a long time ago. 

We did our part to get the vaccine, with almost 97% of our community fully vaccinated. But researchers, and I’m sure some of you, are finding out that fully vaccinated people are still getting COVID-19, and passing it on to others. 

Wearing a mask is necessary again. 

I know we all want to leave COVID-19 behind. It’s been a draining, emotionally exhausting and endlessly taxing battle. 

But for all the people who have lost a loved one to this pandemic, for all those praying for someone in the ICU tonight and for all those who might lose someone tomorrow, we can’t give up. 

We owe it to them to keep doing our part; to keep wearing our masks, keep getting tested and isolate ourselves if we’re feeling sick and to get vaccinated if that hasn’t happened already. 

We need to keep caring about COVID-19 for all those people who can’t just forget. For the people around us who are at risk, or who go home to at-risk family and friends, we need to do our part to keep them safe. 

It might not seem like it, but now is your chance to do something really heroic. By wearing masks, getting vaccinated and going into quarantine if you test positive, you could save someone’s life. 

That should be worth more than anyone’s comfort. 

Austin De Dios is the Editor-in-Chief of The Beacon. He can be reached at

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