There are many things I enjoy about my new hometown of River Forest. Their stance on COVID is not one of them. My former hometown of Oak Park has now mandated masks, regardless of vaccination status, in all public places. “This applies to all businesses, multifamily residential buildings, health-care settings, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, shelters, congregate settings, government buildings and on all forms of public transportation, including in transportation stations and hubs.” (Direct quote from VOP’s site) This is because, as of early August, there has been a 750% uptick in COVID cases.

What the heck is wrong with our elected officials in River Forest? And for those of you who are groaning as you read this, what’s the big deal about wearing a mask? Do you need to be reminded that vaccines are not 100% effective? That the delta strain is extremely contagious? That depending upon when you got your shots, your immunity may be wearing off and booster shots aren’t available for everyone yet? That we still do not have a sufficient percentage of the local population vaccinated to bring about herd immunity? And that we aren’t likely to, at the rate we’re going?

Yes, I, too, am suffering from COVID fatigue, just like the rest of you. But pretending everything is back to normal isn’t the way to get things back to normal. Keep in mind that the “official” COVID statistics only reflect cases that are reported to the guys tallying the statistics. The real stats are likely higher, given that some milder cases are probably not even being reported.

Also, please understand that Darwinism is at work here: Survival of the fittest. COVID viruses will continue to mutate as long as the disease is prevalent. The fittest versions will survive and evolve to become even more virulent. Remember learning about Darwin in grade school science class?

Given the close relationship of our two communities, shouldn’t Oak Park and River Forest be operating in lockstep? River Forest President and Trustees: Please demonstrate some intestinal fortitude and follow Oak Park’s lead. Otherwise we may just all find ourselves back where we started a year ago. 

I have to go now. Please excuse me while I head off to Costco to stock up on toilet paper.

Louise Mezzatesta, River Forest

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