I’m not great at predicting the stock market.

I can’t say I’ve been especially adept at picking lottery numbers.

But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Iowa Quad-Cities covid numbers, and probably statewide numbers as well, are going to see a rise in 10-14 days.

Over the weekend, my social media feed was flooded with pictures of people at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, downtown Davenport, the Village of East Davenport, and really all over, enjoying the good weather and the premature St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Pictures from the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Trying to find masks is like attempting to locate Waldo.

What did all of those pictures have in common?

Very few people wearing masks.

And almost none social distancing.

Folks, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Yes, I know that numbers are going in the right direction — Scott County has seen a decrease in positivity rate down to a consistent four percent over the past two weeks. Yes, I know the vaccine is rolling out and people are starting to get it, and President Biden has put the pedal to the metal in regard to making sure everyone has access to it.

But that doesn’t mean there can’t be setbacks, and the problem is, every time there is a setback, it’s bad news for the industries and the people whose lives and jobs are negatively impacted by any shutdowns, limited or sweeping.

The entertainment industry in particular has been devastated by covid, and many people I know in creative and artistic fields are either completely out of work or very limited in what they can do. The one thing they, and the rest of the people in the industry, have in common is that we’re all hurting financially from this, and have been for over a year now. We all want to work. We all need to work to pay our bills. We can’t do that when so many things are shut down within our industry.

As always, some businesses and people have been responsible in regard to this.

But, of course, as always, some haven’t.

Hey look, there’s a handful of people wearing masks! And… a whole lot more without them!

And that’s why, a year on, we in the U.S. are still stumbling through this while many other countries are not.

So when I see Facebook live feeds and pictures of hundreds of people standing around without masks, packed in drinking cheap beer to celebrate our national holiday of alcoholism, it’s a little annoying.

I get it. It sucks. I used to love going out too. I still go out and do some things, but I try to be responsible about it. I wear a mask at the events, and keep socially distanced. I keep my immune system strong. I just utilize common sense. It’s really not that difficult.

If there’s anything we’ve learned over this past year, it’s that people are going to do whatever the hell they want, regardless of data, science, logic and common sense. There’s no vaccination program against ignorance and stupidity, so, don’t expect that epidemic to end.

However, we can and should expect this covid pandemic to finally end at some point. The only question is when, and the answer depends on how we regard it over the next few months. President Biden has set a goal date of July 4 for some semblance of a return to normalcy. Will we hit it? Will we see independence from the pandemic, finally, or is this going to continue to drag on needlessly?

I don’t know. Like I said, I’m not psychic.

But I am cynical. And so I know how I’m betting.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.