Dear Journal: I’m worried for those least able to protect themselves

Editor’s note: Karen Harris Tully is a writer who lives in Raymond and has agreed to keep a journal to share with Daily World readers during the odd and uncertain time we’re all navigating.^

Dear Journal:

These mornings are slow with no alarm, but the kiddos never sleep past seven anyway. The coffee brews, the TV goes on, I check my sourdough. Yes, it rose like it was supposed to! It is time to bake that first loaf of bread, fingers crossed. But first, I spray the cats with the hose to get them out of my vegetable garden. My bubble bursts and the world seeps in.

The world is slowly reopening. People in France and Italy are finally able to go outdoors for more than groceries and to walk the dog. Children in Spain are finally allowed to go outside again after six weeks cooped up indoors. As a parent, I can’t even imagine that. Meanwhile, people here yell back and forth at each other about “Tyranny!” vs. “Responsibility!”

I do not feel as though I live under a “cruel and oppressive government,” the definition of tyranny. Being asked to stay at home during a pandemic, and to wear a mask at the grocery store is not oppressive. The goal is to keep people from getting and spreading this disease, for which there is no cure, and no vaccine. We’ve already lost over 80,000 Americans to Covid-19 in the past three months, and the numbers climb every day. They are not going down. Thousands more people are dying daily in the U.S., and infection rates are rising faster in some states than others.

Yet ready or not, we’re reopening. Don’t get me wrong, I want things to reopen. I’m glad when I hear it will be phased and gradual. And I want people to be able to go bac k to work. I also want people to be safe about it, and companies to protect their workers. And this is where I worry, not for myself or my immediate family, but for essential workers across the U.S. Reports of companies lobbying Congress to protect their backsides more than they are protecting their workers, especially America’s food production workers, is incredibly troubling. Yes, food production is essential, but those workers must be protected. They are not expendable, no person is! And yet, many of the people getting sick and dying in the U.S. work in low paid food production jobs, where they may not have adequate health care and have to fear losing their jobs if they call in. So, they go to work whether they are sick or not. This is not a recipe to protect people and communities. I worry for the lives of people least able to protect themselves.

But what do I know? Whether we’re ready or not, the bubble has burst. It’s time to bake the bread.

Song of the day: It’s Like That —Run DMC

Karen Harris Tully is a novelist living in Raymond with her husband and two small children. She writes sci-fi/fantasy for teens and adults and can be found at