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Today, my mom told me she had been cleared from her 14-day quarantine.

On July 3 a Spectrum technician came to check on a problem she was having with her phone.

That following Tuesday she received word from Spectrum the technician had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

I immediately told her to call her doctor and the following day she went and, fortunately, tested negative.

It meant, however, a 14-day quarantine and daily calls from her doctor’s office to make sure she had none of the symptoms, and, of course, daily calls from me, family members, friends and her church family.

That’s when I began thinking of the many people who click the laughing emoji on the updates I give on the pandemic.

Perhaps if you felt the dread and worry I felt over these past two weeks your cynical little clicking fingers wouldn’t be so trigger-happy to press that passive-aggressive emoticon.

My mom is of the susceptible age so there was that worry. Because she’s up in age there is also the fear and dread that if she doesn’t immediately pick up the phone I instantly think something is wrong.

The pandemic has been rough on my mom. Her daily coffee club trips have been cancelled. The beauty parlor appointment she had scheduled the week she got the news about the technician was scrapped, her doctor insisting she was already beautiful.

Then there was the cancellation of church — something very near and dear to her — a place where she is not only the backup pianist but the fulltime treasurer, going as far back when she kept the books on a ledger. She now is computer-savvy and does the accounting that way, the information posted directly to the conference upon completion.

I was relieved to have her tell me the pastor, elders and other members called her frequently and prayed with her — beautiful prayers, she said.

But I couldn’t help but think of the pandemic deniers — the laughing emoji clickers, the simpletons who believe governments around the world conspired to create this in some super secret lab in China.

Our president is arrogant, immature and foolish but I don’t think he’s cruel enough or even clever enough to devise such a ruse.

The most solid person the Democrats have had in ages was Barack Obama so there’s little brainpower to squeeze from their current representatives as well.

Yet the deniers continue clicking on the laughing emoji and even this week did an LMAO and questioned mockingly, “only five deaths” in Halifax County?

Only five? That’s five less people in this county who their loved ones will no longer have time to cherish precious memories with.

So if you’re that cynical, that jaded, that out of touch with science and medicine I hope and pray you don’t go through the range of emotions I had, even though my mom tested negative.

Yeah, it’s really a laughing matter, isn’t it? It’s really funny that people are testing positive. What’s really sadly funny is that many people are so oblivious to science and medicine they’ll believe the politicians and discredited YouTube doctors over proven research.

As far as the coverage on this pandemic, just keep your laughing emoji clicking fingers in shape because coverage of this will remain the same and I have no plans to cave to your political beliefs on this matter whether they be leftwing or rightwing.

I am not creating panic when reporting numbers and the cumulative totals of positive cases since testing began. There’s a historical precedent in reporting the positives as well as the negatives and recoveries.

I’ve been careful to point out the positives are cumulative totals and have been upfront you can calculate the approximate number of current cases by subtracting the recoveries from the positives.

Yet there are folks who have actually requested I bury the total number of positives, I suppose because it would better fit their political agendas.

My father raised me on science and nature and to have respect for that and our world’s natural history.

None of this matters to the pandemic deniers, the ones I squarely blame for keeping us in the current phase we’re under.

Maybe if you’d heed a little extra precaution we could move on, yet your finger is so itchy to press that laughing emoji and mock scientific and medical research that you care not for yourself or others.

There are folks who, for some sick reason, want to know the names of the dead in Halifax County and because I’m not pursuing that my website has been called a bias-based news site — whatever that means.

The thing is I actually know a few names. I know the names of some of the positives but because I respect off-the-record and swear by it, you’ll never hear them from me.

The only thing I will tell you right now is I’m quite relieved mom got cleared from her quarantine and perhaps next week she can get her hair done and take a ride with the folks helping her get her groceries. It’s the little things like that have helped her through this pandemic.

Even after writing this I’m sure the gates of denier hell will open up, cynical tiny fingers will be clicking that laughing emoji and you will get a good laugh over someone who has been worried the past two weeks.

Or  maybe, just maybe, you’ll see this pandemic for what it is — not a laughing matter but a viable threat to the public’s health and safety — Lance Martin