I have “COVID fatigue” as I’m sure many of you do. I’m weary of hearing about it and ready to get back to normal life. But it is still here, and we must deal with it. The most disconcerting part of it to me is that we quickly politicized a health crisis and established “us” and “them.”

I will preface my remarks with a couple of facts according to Johns Hopkins (hopkinsmedicine.org).“Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. A coronavirus identified in 2019, SARS-CoV-2, has caused a pandemic of respiratory illness, called COVID-19.” Coronaviruses account for 15 to 30 percent of all common colds. Coronavirus and COVID-19 are NOT interchangeable terms. COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease – 2019) is a respiratory illness caused by SARS-CoV-2, a type of coronavirus.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not a bullet proof vest. I have encountered so many people who think just because they are fully vaccinated they can no longer be infected by coronavirus. This is not true. Even if vaccinated, you can still be infected by a virus; you are less likely to develop the disease caused by the virus.

I have also encountered people who believe those who are not vaccinated are akin to lepers who must cry out “Unvaccinated, unvaccinated!” as they go about in the streets. Unvaccinated people run the same risk as vaccinated people of being infected by coronavirus. They have a greater risk of developing and having a more severe case of the disease caused by the virus.

There is cruelty on either side of this issue. I believe we should all be able to make health decisions based on conversations with our physicians and personal experience. My plea is for the nonsense and rhetoric to stop; realistically I know it will not. Our own governor said, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.” Her comments were, in my opinion, divisive and not helpful.

While I do not advocate another lock down or mask mandate, we should all exercise common sense. If you are sick (with COVID-19 or anything else) stay home! If you are among the vulnerable, take precautions. Numbers in Alabama are spiking again and it is foolish to ignore that fact.

My plea is neither “Get the shot,” or “Don’t get the shot.” Whether you are vaccinated or not, let other people make that decision for themselves. I’m just as unlikely to persuade you to think like I do as you are to change my mind, so let’s cut each other some slack and show basic kindness. We should seek unity (a diverse group of people with different opinions and perspectives who work together toward a common goal) not conformity (everyone has to adhere to the same beliefs and no one is allowed to break step). But that’s a topic for another day.