The Daily Sentinel published results of a non-scientific online poll today asking readers for their opinions of the ongoing stay-at-home order due to the Coronavirus pandemic. About 72 percent of people said they agree with the order and are obeying it. Twenty one percent say they’re following the stay-at-home order even though they think it’s “over the top,” and 7 percent say they are not following the order at all because they think it’s “too extreme” or “unnecessary.”
This means about a third of people in our area aren’t really grasping the seriousness of this pandemic.
And it’s no wonder they don’t understand what’s going on. Few people alive today have ever lived through a pandemic. The last time something like this happened was in 1918.
What is a “pandemic?”
An “epidemic” is when a disease spreads throughout a significant geographic area. A pandemic is when a disease has spread globally.
We are now in a pandemic, as Coronavirus has now spread to almost every place on Earth.
So why is this a big deal?
The novel Coronavirus is a brand new, highly communicable virus with an extraordinarily high death rate. No prevention, cure or treatment for it currently exists.
People can have Coronavirus and not show symptoms of the illness for an undetermined period of time. During this time, they can be walking around giving it to other people without knowing it. This is called “community spread,” and it’s very difficult to stop.
About 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild and survivable, but 20 percent are serious and tend to quickly turn life-threatening, especially for people with underlying conditions like diabetes, lung or heart disease.
The Coronavirus kills people by giving them a deadly case of pneumonia, and very quickly. The virus causes the lungs to fill up with fluid, making it increasingly hard to breathe. People say it feels like having a bunch of bricks lying on their chest. The fluid filling the lungs leads to a slow, suffocating death that can feel like drowning. Support can require weeks of mechanical ventilation. And doctors can only support patients and hope they recover. There is no cure.
Medical centers are overwhelmed.
The number of people who already have severe cases of Coronavirus is overwhelming medical centers across the country. Hospitals are running out of the personal protective gear health providers need to stay well, like masks, gowns and gloves. Meanwhile, the number of Corona virus cases is still climbing exponentially throughout the country, and the world. In the U.S., our supply of life-saving equipment, like mechanical ventilators, will also soon be exhausted, and now doctors and nurses who have been treating people with COVID-19 are getting the disease themselves, and many of them are dying from it. Doctors and nurses who are still alive and trying to help patients in hospitals who have the disease are afraid of infecting their families, and of dying themselves. It’s a dire situation.
This means our entire country is on the brink of running out of hospital beds, equipment, doctors and nurses who can help others survive COVID-19.
This also means that if YOU get COVID-19 and suddenly need medical help, there is every probability that it will not be available.
Don’t believe the happy talk that we have the “best health care system in the world.” We clearly don’t, and in addition to our country’s completely failure to prepare for a pandemic like this, our health care system is currently getting its ass completely kicked.
This is NO JOKE.
The only way to keep everyone from getting Coronavirus is if every single person changes their behavior.
NO immunization against COVID-19 currently exists. Resign yourself to the fact that there probably won’t be one for years. There is no medical way to prevent it.
The only way to keep from getting the illness now is for everyone to change their behavior. This is the only tool that exists to control the spread of Coronavirus. Behavioral changes include things like quarantine, self-isolation, staying home, not going out, frequent hand-washing, frequent cleaning of surfaces like countertops, door handles, etc.
Every person who fails to self-isolate in response to this pandemic can potentially infect hundreds more people, who can in turn infect hundreds more people. This could keep our country in a permanent state of viral paralysis and lead to thousands upon thousands more deaths.
There is NO other means of prevention.
Think about all the things we all touch every day:
Every touch screen, keypad, push-button, stair railing, door knob, or pull handle has the potential to spread the disease. That means every ATM, gas pump, grocery store self-checkout touch screen, pin pad, door knob and public restroom handle can give the disease to hundreds more people every day. In addition, the infection spreads through person to person contact within just a couple of feet, so it is spread by sitting next to each other at a picnic table in the park, attending a family get-together, going to a church service or a movie, a party, or concert or just being in the room with other people.
Every single person MUST be conscientious. Stay home, avoid other people.
That’s why authorities are telling people to STAY HOME. Stay at least 6 feet away from other people except for your uninfected family members. Avoid congregating in groups ANYWHERE for ANY REASON. Go out only if it is absolutely necessary for food or other really necessary reasons.
The fewer people out spreading the disease, the sooner the pandemic will slow, and the sooner we will get back to normal.
Even a handful of people not taking this seriously and acting appropriately can keep the pandemic going for everyone.
So PLEASE, all of you out there: TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY. We all need to pitch in, and stay home as much as possible.
Do it for yourself, and our world.
Authoritative sources of information:
Don’t go to Fox News for your information, and don’t listen to politicians’ happy talk like we’re all going to get back to work next week. Instead go to long-established, trusted, factual sources of scientific information to get the REAL scoop on where we are with this thing.
For up to date, reliable and truthful information on the Coronavirus pandemic and how to prevent the disease, rely on authoritative web sites like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, CDC’s prevention guidelines, and visit Johns Hopkins University’s interactive map of the disease globally. For state info go to this Colorado government website, and for local information the most up-to-date site is the Mesa County Health Department Coronavirus website.