People who do not follow public health guidance on social distancing and hand washing become the delivery system that COVID -19 uses to hunt down vulnerable victims: someone’s parent or grandparent.
As of Monday, March 16, COVID-19 had infected 3,244 Americans in 49 states, killing 61. The chart that our nation’s stage in spread most resembles shows exponential growth that could claim thousands of lives. Still without testing, something all other advanced democracies managed to deploy, we brace for the brunt of the infection blindfolded.
We must all shelter in place. Cavalier travel is over. Each trip from your home for food, or fuel or medical care, or essential service, must be conducted as if your life, or the life of someone you might infect, depended on it.
At the end of this pandemic, we will find an economy, and a presidency, laid low. Our health care system is being humbled by the strain this stress test has only begun to administer. But when we get the “All Clear,” we should be able to greet each other, in a post-handshake world, with a nod of satisfaction, that we made the sufficient sacrifice to flatten the curve of this tidal wave of infection.
Other generations on our soil have been asked to volunteer for combat, endure rationing, hide a runaway slave, or boycott a bus line for a year. Today, nurses are being asked to put on hazmat suits and draw blood that could be contaminated, cashiers collect currency from hands that may contain the virus, parents incorporate childcare into their telecommute and men and women who have built small business are being asked to close their doors, not knowing if the length of being shuttered will prevent them from ever being able to open their doors again.
This epic, global shared experience requires restrained movement and basic hygiene from all of us. We’re being asked to couch surf and wash our hands. Stay home, save lives! Don’t be super spreader. Twenty seconds of wetting, lathering, scrubbing, rinsing and drying, halts this deadly contagion. Never have so many, owed so much to so few – seconds.