Dave Richards for March 11th….…………
--First, I want to thank all of you for your kind comments on last week’s column. I wasn’t sure my words of caution would resonate, but they did and I think that says a lot about you, the reader.
So, one week later, the situation is worse. There’s not a newscast which goes by without a story on how the coronavirus is impacting people’s lives. Still, in the U.S. we are still counting the number of people who ‘might’ have come in contact with the virus, and the number of people who are confirmed to have it is still encouragingly low.
It is harder to keep a clear perspective when you get closer to the trouble, so from here on it may become harder to know who is trying to scare you and who is trying to help. I admit I had that question in my mind this morning when I heard on a national news broadcast that none other organization than the National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, the usually trustworthy CDC, announced their recommendation that everyone in the country over the age of 60 should buy up a lot of supplies and hunker down in their homes, not going outside, until further notice. You know, you used to be able to trust the CDC for careful and non-sensational comments on matters of public health. But this one came disturbingly close to sounding like they are “pushing the panic button”. Or maybe they are just choosing to protect themselves by agreeing with the sensationalists? Maybe they figure, “it couldn’t hurt, so why not?” I don’t know, but I have decided to cautiously continue with my life. If they mean it they will say it again.
There is some sane talk among all this. Some people in our government do “get it” that it’s easy to tell someone to ‘self-quarantine’, but how do they go to work and pay their bills? Unemployment insurance will be needed for them to survive, and that is being worked on by the government.
Certainly some jobs could be done by remote connection. But most can’t. Police officers. Fire fighters. Paramedics. Doctors and nurses. They cannot “phone it in”. But these people come in contact with many other people in the course of their work. They are at risk of contracting the illness themselves, and possible spreading it to others without knowing it.
No plan is perfect. But I think overall we are taking a path of compromise to address the situation. I mean, we certainly cannot tell over 350 million people to all stay home, can we? I know they tried to do that in Italy, but it was already too late when they took that step.
So keep washing those hands, gang. Take other considerate measure to protect yourself and others. And for Pete’s sake, if you’re feeling unwell, that’s the time to stay home! It is true this virus spreads between people even if they are feeling well, but even more so among those who are ill.
And consider this. Even if you have a simple cold or case of the common variety of flu that’s going around, that puts YOU in an especially vulnerable position to fall victim to and be unprepared to fight an even more virile illness which can put you down for a long time…..or more.
--Keep a level head. Take care. We’ll get through this one. Hey, with the advent of Daylight Saving Time last weekend, it’s easy to imagine the good weather we’ve been enjoying over the last few days coming back for good. And there is a theory about this coronavirus that, like the regular flu, it generally goes away with the warmer weather. That’s why countries in South America and Africa, where it is now summer, aren’t as badly hit with it.
Let’s hope they are right.
--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.