With the warm weather here and longer days ahead, it's tempting to forget that we still have an invisible enemy in our midst. A global pandemic continues to spread across the globe and there are …
With the warm weather here and longer days ahead, it's tempting to forget that we still have an invisible enemy in our midst. A global pandemic continues to spread across the globe and there are still close to 100 cases in our own community.
We cannot forget that, according to data from John Hopkins University, some 115,000 people have died from COVID-19 here in the United States. More people are dying every day and the number of confirmed cases is rising in over a dozen states.
It's encouraging that the number of confirmed active cases in Sullivan County has decreased to 98 from a high of over 500 in mid-April, according to data from Sullivan County Public Health Services. But methods to contain and eliminate the virus are only effective when people practice social distancing guidelines, wear masks in public spaces and regularly wash their hands.
Our haste to return to normal life could undue much of the work that's been done to mitigate the worst of this pandemic.
On Sunday, Gov. Cuomo warned that if local officials in Manhattan and Long Island couldn't crack down on businesses floating social distancing rules, the state may be forced to suspend reopening plans.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation's top infectious disease experts, has warned of serious health consequences if states reopen too quickly. Warning that the return to normalcy might take as long as a year, Dr. Fauci said,"It's going to be really wait and see. My feeling, looking at what's going on with the infection rate, I think it's more likely measured in months rather than weeks."
Reopening plans should be specific to the circumstances of each particular region. The circumstances of Sullivan County are much different than those of Manhattan. Similarly, the circumstances of New York State are different to those of Utah or Wyoming.
The way we perceive this pandemic also depends on our geographic location. If you live in the northeast you're more likely to know someone who has gotten sick or died from this virus. It's easier to be more empathetic and cautious when you've seen the life or death consequences. If you live in the midwest, you're probably less likely to know someone who has died than you are to know someone who has lost their job or business. It's easy from some places to view the pandemic more in terms of its economic impacts.
It's too easy to forget that we're talking about life or death.
If we're truly interested in returning to our normal lives and routines, following the guidelines from health officials is the best way forward.
“Some feel face coverings infringe on their freedom of choice - but if more wear them, we'll have MORE freedom to go out,” Surgeon General Adams said on Twitter over the weekend. “Face coverings [leads to] less asymptomatic viral spread [which leads to] more places open, and sooner!”
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