I received an email from a Pierce County resident who was concerned with the number of people in our County that don’t seem to be taking this COVID virus seriously. And I have the same concerns. I have also heard from people that have asked us to “open” up the County again. And then every day I receive reports that show that we continue to have new cases and new deaths every day.
As of this writing (May 13, 2020) we have lost over 983 people in the State and 65 people in Pierce County to this virus – all ages, all areas. Just today another 13 cases in Pierce County were reported bringing our total up to 1,766. The total in the State is 17, 773 confirmed cases.
Some people have said that governments’ restrictions have been extreme, such as closing schools and businesses. But how many people would be outraged if children died because of the spread of the virus through a school or schools? How upsetting would it be if your spouse was required to work and contracted the virus through a customer or client in their business? Opening the State would be counterproductive to getting control over this pandemic. We, in government, must balance the welfare of the public.
It is true that the number of cases has peaked and is lower than at the end of March. But for weeks our numbers have been static or have plateaued with day-to-day variations. We have not achieved a safe level for lifting all the restrictions that have been put in place. And that is frustrating. Frustrating for us that are trying to find a balance; frustrating for business that is trying to survive; and frustrating for our community that is trying to get back a sense of normal.
How can we get off this plateau and move this virus downhill? The Health Department and our health providers are following protocols in addressing this pandemic from testing to contact tracing to reduce the incidences of contamination. The Governor is slowly opening up sectors to cautiously monitor and control the spread of the virus.
Unfortunately, there are people that are not following the guidelines of social distancing and the use of preventive protections such as gloves and masks. Maybe they believe that they won’t get sick or that they can’t make someone else sick.
Let me give an example of how it could happen. Imagine yourself in a room of 10 or so people. Each of you are given a piece of paper. Nine are blank, one says you have COVID but don’t know it. Then you are given instructions to shake hands and introduce yourself to each other. You have one minute. You probably can’t get to everyone but that is ok. Time’s up.
Now, ask the COVID person to raise their hand. Then ask who shook her hand. Then ask who shook the hands of the ones who first shook her hand. And on and on. This is how COVID can spread. If people keep going into public settings without protections or keep socializing with friends and extended family, it will continue to spread. Remember, it can take days for symptoms to show up so you don’t know who may have it.
We won’t get change until we are the change!
In service to you,