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Take a Step Back

By Staff | Apr 1, 2020

It’s hard to believe, but in just a week, normal life has ground to a halt. Businesses deemed nonessential by the state government are closed. Classrooms sit empty. Streets are eerily quiet and roadways unimaginably clear.

As life with the coronavirus continues I have become more and more concerned that we are only receiving fragments of the whole story. These are hard and scary times, and they may get harder and scarier before things return to normal.

The Government passed the third phrase of the Corvid-19 relief package, which will provide much help on the econonic side of the war, but the health of the people keeps getting worse.

We are the number one country in the world with the most cases confirmed and the most deaths.

During an update last week Trump advised he would likely order the country to “step back” and open things back up again. His suggestion was, to look at Easter as the date, and to fill the churches, and he called it a beautiful thing. That has been revised however and now stands at April 30.

I agree, it would have been a wonderful event to have all the churches in the land filled to compacity, and not just on Easter, but every time the doors are open for regular services. However, without a doubt, now is not the time nor will Easter Sunday be.

It reminds me of what Gen. George Patton once said, “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” We had a plan, the President called this a war, a terrible war and he said we would win. Any good leader in a time of war would demand you push forward in the battle, taking a step backwards is seldom the right move.

Some people have irresponsibly asserted that COVID-19 is no big deal, that sick people should stay home, and the rest of us should just wash our hands and go about our normal lives. After all, they argue, seasonal flu outbreaks kill tens of thousands of people every year, and only about 10,000 (probably much higher when this is released) people across the globe have died of COVID-19 so far. While they say no deaths are tolerable, their words and actions differ.

Even if you don’t find that argument heartless, you should recognize that it’s based on a faulty premise, that deaths will remain at a tolerable level. Yes at some point they will level off and it will go away, but this is not the flu, or a virus for which we have a vaccine and decades of research to guide our assumptions. Rather, we are in early stages of an outbreak of a brand new virus that was identified less than three months ago and about which we know very little for certain, other than it is highly efficient at spreading through the population undetected.

As it turns out, more younger people are becoming infected each day, more than 40 percent of the people hospitalized are now between the ages of 20-54. My observation has been that many people are taking this serious, but many more are not and there-in lies the problem. It is now believed that as many as 100,000 people may die from this deadly virus.

The shameful shortage of diagnostic tests in the U.S. for the coronavirus has made it hard for public health officials to gauge the scope of infections, but they suspect it is many times higher than the number of reported cases.

Also, there are still some questions about how the virus is transmitted. Typically, respiratory viruses are spread by sick people coughing and sneezing droplets that are either inhaled by someone close by or deposited on items that other people touch later.

Most everything is shut down and our way of life is temporarily disrupted. However we can still live a meaningful life, we just need to adhere to the advice of our leaders. While traveling home from the office. this week I couldn’t help but notice people playing tennis on the courts at Bruce Park. I also drove down a side street where 6-7 people (grown adults) were congregating without properly distancing themselves.

The other problem is parents are still allowing kids in the communities to play up close with each other, with a lot of interacting. You see it everywhere you go. The grocery stores have become a major problem as most people are still using them to socialize. There is no reason for anyone to be taking their kids or babies to the grocery store. Just last night while out for a walk at 10 p.m., I came across a group of high school ids and maybe some even younger walking the streets. It shouldn’t be happening and parents should put a stop to it.. These young people can get the infection and carry it home and elsewhere, and then they have no one to blame but themselves.

If I were to quess, I would say the most likely place to pick up the virus would be in the stores or carry out restaurants. We can stay safe, but this virus needs to be taken serious.

The 1918 Spanish flu killed as many as 100 million people at a time when the world’s population was just 1.8 billion. Currently, there are nearly 8 billion people on the planet. The math is chilling.

Even those who believe they are safe from the outbreak because of their age or situation ought to be sobered by the implications of an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Social distancing and home isolation are the best tools we have at the moment to slow or even stop transmission. Understand, that if you require hospitalization, you will be on your own. No family members will be visiting you. And if it’s your children or parents it will be the same with them. That is a scary thought, you will be in a place with limited treatment options and with people who may not want to be around you.

We all need to remember this, the future course of this disease, depends not only on the behavior of our political leaders, doctors and nurses, but on the choices we ourselves make about our behavior in coming days and weeks. Stay safe! Ed Parsons, editor@wetzelchronicle.com