Believe me when I tell you I am the last person on earth to voluntarily stay home with my kids. I am the person that avoids “hanging out at home” at all costs and plans 72 activities an hour all weekend long until I run my family ragged because I just cannot handle sitting around on the couch. I’m horrible at imaginary play, I have no patience for crafts and I break out in hives just thinking about my kids messing up the couch to make a “fort.”
But you know what sucks even worse than staying at home for a month (or more)?
Getting sick (with coronavirus or anything else) and not being able to get treatment because our hospitals are overrun, out of masks, ventilators, beds – and unable to properly care for patients. Or watching someone you love die because you or someone like you thought they were young and invincible and didn’t even realize they were carrying an infection (you can transmit coronavirus for days or weeks before even realizing you’re sick) that would hardly affect you but stands to kill your grandparent, or neighbor, or immune compromised niece or nephew.
That would really fucking suck.
And it’s not a hypothetical. It’s happening.
Think I’m being dramatic?
Across our entire country we have less than 100k ICU beds. Based on hospitalization rates we are seeing in other countries like Italy and China we are just weeks away from having one million people that need them. And that’s just coronavirus patients – that doesn’t even account for people who get in car accidents or need life support, or who are having heart surgery or other scheduled procedures.
Just a few short weeks ago I was rolling my eyes at “all this coronavirus bullshit” and assumed that everyone was overreacting to what was essentially a bad cold.
But a lot has changed in a couple of weeks. Days even.
This situation is incredibly serious and while I still refuse to give in to the panic about actually getting the virus (I’m healthy enough that I would likely be just fine), I am not naive enough to think that for some magical reason our country is immune to the devastation Covid-19 is causing in other parts of the world.
It’s pretty widely accepted at this point that we are already past being able to contain this – and we have a very limited amount of time left to slow the spread before we completely overwhelm our hospital systems.
Not sure what that means? Take a look at what’s happening in Italy where doctors are having to make gut wrenching decisions every day about which patients to treat and which to send home to die based on limited resources: https://pjmedia.com/trending/italian-doctors-facing-impossible-choice-of-deciding-who-lives-and-who-dies/
If you think that would never happen in a 1st world country – that’s what Italians thought, too.
If you think our country would never impose a nationwide quarantine, that’s what Italians said too, just a couple short weeks ago.
And now they are begging us to not be as blind as they were. Don’t wait until it’s too late: https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/03/13/coronavirus-colorado-italy-covid-19/
Our government is not acting quickly enough. Not with testing, not with cancellations, and not with quarantines. As usual, we are relying on the private sector and individuals to do the right thing. And that’s terrifying.
It’s incredibly weird to scroll through your social media feed and see three posts about businesses moving to remote work and schools shutting down and hospitals running out of masks – followed by three posts of people out at a party, or taking a vacation. This is a reflection of the failure of our government to act – and to provide direct and proactive guidance.
There are major consequences for many people in our country when we cancel everything – but there are major consequences if we don’t. And because of that it is critical that ESPECIALLY the people who are able – those of us who can afford to buy some extra groceries, work from home, and hunker down – that we do.
And I don’t mean stay home and have your friends over for a BBQ or a “pandemic party.” I mean stay home. Period. Do not interact with other people or families, even in small groups. Help your more vulnerable neighbors by buying them groceries, buy gift cards from small businesses that will undoubtedly suffer – but cancel everything else. Social distancing doesn’t work if you only kind of – sort of – just this one time – I feel fine so it’s it’s not a big deal – maybe a little bit – distance.
I know many of you think all the school closures and social distancing is excessive. But the only way to give our medical system a chance to save vulnerable people is by flattening the curve and slowing the spread – which means staying home. Period. Not just skipping the large events – but canceling play dates, dinner parties, any group activity period.
Please protect the most vulnerable people in our population. Give them a chance by slowing the spread so they will have access to appropriate care. Being financially and physically able to stay or work from home – even having access to healthcare is a privilege in this country. Please use it to protect others who are not as fortunate.
Healthcare (and retail!) workers are putting their lives on the line to keep us safe and comfortable – please don’t put unnecessary burden on them by aiding the spread. Cancel everything. Stay home. Do the right thing. Even before our government makes it official.
And if you don’t believe me – read this: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-cancel-everything/607675/