More cities are starting to lock down, shuttering businesses and schools, in favor of social distancing and having people stay home as much as possible. People are getting frustrated and some refuse to stay inside. Millions of people have lost their jobs and are protesting the closing of all non essential businesses. As of April 2, a record 6.6 million Americans have applied for unemployment checks. This is a time of job losses and uncertainty. Despite this, it is still vital that all Americans stay inside if possible.
With the closing of businesses all across the U.S., millions of Americans are losing their jobs resulting in widespread feelings of financial insecurity. Many are worried about rent and not having food, which is a ligimmitate concern.
The importance of social distancing has been preached by health officials and workers since early March. When you get within 6 feet of another person, you increase the risk of spreading germs and disease. It can be really hard to stay inside, but if we don’t, the results could be much worse. By continuing self isolation, we can keep the cases in the US under a million, and the deaths under 100,000. If we don’t, if we refute advice given by experts and open the country back up, the deaths could be in the millions. Even if the government lifts the stay at home orders, staying inside most of the time will be vital until we have a vaccine.
Many people have excuses as to why they should be allowed outside during this time. Some say that those who are under 50, have no underlying health conditions, and are not sick should be allowed to go about their business. However, this is simply not the best option. First of all, young people- teenagers and 20 year olds- with no underlying health conditions have contracted the virus and died. You are not invincible. Second of all, you could transmit the virus to others. Many people are asymptomatic, which means they have COVID-19, but they aren’t showing any of the tell tale signs- like a fever, dry cough, and trouble breathing. You could bring it home to siblings or parents, you could come into contact with someone who has a elderly person in their life, give it to them, and they could give it to that family member. The risks are too high, and too unpredictable.
The United States healthcare system is not stable enough to handle the overwhelming number of cases. There are not enough supplies, not enough nurses and doctors, and not enough space. Look to New York as an example. New York is a heavy international travel city, and it was hit hard before people began realizing just how important social distancing is. As of April 17, there are 222,284 confirmed cases and 14,636 deaths. There is a field hospital in the middle of Central Park, and 18 wheeler freezer trucks to handle the amount of bodies. If the country is opened before the virus loses momentum, this scene could spread to the entire country.
The act of social distancing and self isolating is called “flattening the curve.” It means that the healthcare system would collapse if everyone got this illness at the same time, there would be no way to handle an influx of patients and the entire country would look like the 1918 spanish flu pandemic- bodies in the street and no way to treat most people. If we flatten the curve, the cases will be more spread out, and healthcare workers will have a better shot of fighting it.
When you do go outside, for groceries or picking up food, make sure you wear a mask, and if possible, make your own personal mask and leave the N95 masks for the healthcare workers on the frontlines. The N95 masks not only keep the illness from getting out, but they keep it from getting in. They are vital for hospital workers and those coming into contact with COVID-19 patients.
The destruction of the economy is really bad, and millions of Americans are struggling to feed themselves and their family.
If you have the resources, donate to companies all over the country who are trying to feed those who don’t have a job at this time.
Give large tips to the restaurants and delivery services you are using to get food.
Work from home if it’s an option, and thank the healthcare workers, grocery store employees, and delivery workers who are risking their health and safety to make sure you are safe and have food.
Check in on your neighbors, friends, and family members over a Zoom call.
Look at the CDC for guidance and their COVID-19 website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
AISD has been providing meals to students during the school shutdown. Get more information here: https://www.austinisd.org/covid19/meals
This time is going to be hard, but I promise you, we will get through this together.
Remember: Safe at Home, not Stuck at Home.