What does “exacerbate” mean?
I heard this word used by an expert being interviewed over CNN referring to the public’s attitude and actions on the acquisition of face masks that causes a shortage of supply of the article for medical personnel who need to replace it every four hours, and are in actual contact of plausible carriers of the virus, unlike folks who do their business from home to workplace and dine and or shop in between. If this situation is a war (which it’s becoming similar to), the civilians are taking time to queue, obtain in large amounts and arm themselves of military gear; instigating scarcity of helmets, boots, weapons, ammunition and all other defensive and protective equipment from soldiers in the frontline who have to dodge bullets, dropping bombs and exploding mines. In such a case, how would the nation fare in the war with scarcely equipped defenders? In World War 2, civilians supported the war campaign by flocking to the factories in the mass production of all that the soldiers needed including materials for their protection. The civilians did not wear the helmets for themselves. On the other hand, this war against the NCoV is not like a military campaign in many respects. In keeping with the metaphor, the enemies have possibly infiltrated among the civilian population that the regular person could really run the risk of being unknowingly shot by some sniper that lurks around wherever. But then again, do not frontliners do their best to secure and apprehend suspected cases of infiltration that passersby don’t really get suddenly attacked when walking down the streets, so the frontline combatants are in far greater need of protective gear than those who are away from the battle lines.
Oh, I get it. “Exacerbate” is a transitive verb which means to make more violent, bitter, or severe. Used in a sentence, The new law only exacerbates the problem. (www.merriam-webster.com) So, according to experts, these mass acquisition of face masks (perhaps including rubbing alcohol and sanitizer) just worsens the problem as it already is.
What further exacerbates the circumstances is the impugning investigations in the Senate of Department of Health officials on the procedures of addressing the treatment and deterrence of the virus. Yes, arguably, such investigations and inquiries are included in the mandate of senators; and the state should look into the manner of handling of such problems for future reference, but can’t we wait when the smoke has settled? It is good to prepare for the future but it is better to prioritize the present. Right now, it is an international crisis; and health officials should be pulling all their time and resources to address this major concern. But I don’t think it does not help when their time is taken and they are stressed even more in answering questions of legislators whose intentions become questionable when they seem to be scrutinizing the firemen’s actions in the middle of them putting out the fire, while the flames are blazing wildly. Right now, the frontliners and their commanders need all the support that they can get (as cliché as it may sound). If I may insist the World War 2 reference, in those most troubling times of the conflict, every social sector in the United States and the United Kingdom rallied behind the war effort. Manufacture industry pumped its production. When men went into battle, women willingly took their places in society so that its gears would keep moving to supply support. On both sides, scientific and technological developments leaped forward to back up the battalions. Every small sector played its part. Publications from newspapers to comics pressed propaganda. The superhero character, Captain America was created to boost morale of combatants and civilians. Americans even stopped calling sausages “frankfurters” and replaced it with the term, “hotdog” as an expression of patriotism and support of the war effort.
But in this war we have now, no less than national officials badger the frontline fighters with blame. Time which could have been used to inch the movement for national defense against sickness was stolen and squandered on disheartening discourses. Most probably, these people are already under excessive stress with all that has been going on; and senators show their support by tiring them further. These people deserved heightened support, now more than ever.
I could only wonder why some legislators are so hellbent on examining and scrutinizing these officials who have much work to do than sit on their halls. What for? Political grandstanding? To show the voters their twisted and misplaced interpretation of public service?
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
1 Corinthians 1:10