A Weekly Column
by Mary K. King
June 25, 2020
COVID-19. Coronavirus. PPE. N-95. Social distancing. Flatten the curve. Community spread. Just a handful of months ago, if these terms were said to me, I’d probably be confused. Now, though, they have all since become household words. In the world of news writing, we call these “buzzwords,” meaning just the word itself can conjure up a specific time, item or event.
Not unlike trends of the past, the buzzwords tend to come and go with the cycle of the news. I have a feeling that these words might be staying past their welcome, though.
This pandemic has been confusing. I don’t know how else to describe it, and maybe that’s my own buzzword for COVID-19: confusing. It seems none of the folks we typically rely on to keep us informed can agree on things surrounding this virus. The CDC, WHO, even FOX and CNN, are all seemingly on different pages at times. It can be hard to keep up.
With all of the misinformation and contradicting messages, we, the public, seem to be the last to know what’s going on. From one city to the other, the rules on reopening might look different. Living so close to the state line, we see that from state to state, the opinions on what phases of opening we should be in can differ greatly.
Masks aren’t necessary. Masks will stop the spread. Tests available only for those showing symptoms. Everyone can get tested. Do this. Don’t do that. Wait, let’s go back to doing this again. No, never mind. It’s left a lot of us shaking our heads, wondering what we should be doing to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy.
Are we recovering from the pandemic? Is herd immunity a thing? It’s hard to tell, with more testing available all the time, and with distancing becoming shorter and shorter between us. The one thing I do know is this: my own curve is certainly not flattening with all of the social distancing taking place. Much like the “freshman 15” people experience when heading off to college, we can call this the “COVID-19.”
For up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 and what we should be doing here locally, I recommend www.jacohd.org for those not in Kansas City proper, and www.kcmo.gov/
city-hall/departments/health for KCMO residents. It’s confusing, but if we work together (and wear our masks when out in public), hopefully we can make these buzzwords a thing of the past.
Tweets by @MKingJCA
Mary K. King, editor of the Jackson County Advocate newspaper, grew up in the Grandview community. She currently serves on the Missouri Press Association Board of Directors and works as Development Coordinator for the Grandview Education Foundation. Previously, she served as president of Grandview Main Street and was on the board of directors of the Kansas City Press Club. Her most important title is that of "Mom" to her teenage son.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.