Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Science and shortage of tests means we must stay home

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By MARGARET L. WILLIS

I saw, with sinking heart and clenched gut, the demonstration in Michigan on Wednesday by those opposed to the stay-at-home orders, which have slowed the virus spread and reduced the death rate.

As a country, in spite of the COVID-19 hot-spots, we are keeping the death rate lower than was first predicted. This is not because the first predictions were wrong--it’s because actions have consequences and we have prevented deaths by staying away from each other and slowing the spread. But the number of infections and deaths is still rising. On Thursday, the state of Indiana reported it’s highest numbers yet.

I had a frightening experience this week, the most frightening for me since the stay-at-home orders and the state mandated closures of non-essential businesses were announced.

I was in the front office of the Chesterton Tribune when a large man lunged through the inner office door, which was left unlocked by mistake.

This person ignored multiple signs, on the front window, on the outer door and on the inner door, instructing people to call the office with questions instead of coming in, to email advertising and news items, etc., and requesting customers drop subscription payments through the mail slot.

When told he shouldn’t be in the office he became angry, and shouted, spittle flying, that he “just wanted to pay a bill.” When I asked (while trying to maintain 6 feet of distance, not enough I feared to avoid the spittle), could he please drop it in the vestibule, he angrily slapped money on the counter and handed over his renewal notice, along with the envelope it had been mailed in and the return envelope, provided to send payment by mail or for drop off through the mail slot.

I explained we are trying to abide by the CDC COVID-19 safety guidelines and he should not be in our office since it was unnecessary, and that he ought to be wearing a mask when out in public. He claimed, though he drove a very nice late model car and was slamming cash on the counter, that he “couldn’t afford a mask.”

The encounter shook me as I came face to face with someone, in my own community, in my own office, who so obviously doesn’t care that he might be spreading the virus, cared nothing for my safety (or his own apparently) and became angry, verbally abusive and physically reckless when challenged.

As frightening as that is, this person isn’t alone. I’ve seen people gathering together on lawns, not maintaining a six foot distance; I’ve seen online posts about ‘hanging out with friends’, and other dangerous behaviors people are engaging in because they believe the rules just don’t apply to them, or they imagine, wrongly, that they are somehow immune to the virus.

The staff here at the Chesterton Tribune is striving daily to maintain publication of the news our community needs and wants.

The in-office staff, usually 8 or 9 on any given morning, is down to three people during mornings, with a couple more in the afternoon who come in to write, help answer phones and stuff advertising inserts. My world has contracted to these few people, less than 10, and theirs the same. We come to work, and are in lock-down; we go home and are in stay-at-home mode. Other Tribune staff are working from home and we speak to them by phone and only see their faces on Facebook. This is a strain for all of us, but we do this to protect our community, our families, ourselves, and each other.

Why? Because we believe in science. We read and listen to the news. We know the truth is that we’re in a worldwide pandemic, and we are determined to do our part to stop the spread of this potentially deadly virus.

We now have no choice but to lock all the doors to the building, all the time. Because one person would not read the signs, would not follow the rules, would not wear a mask, and was willing to put others in danger, not caring who or how many.

A premature push to “open things up”, from unconcerned citizens and politicians alike, means an inevitable increase in infections and deaths.

This is how the virus will rebound and even more infections and deaths will occur.

Until we have the means to test everyone to determine who has an active case of COVID-19, so that all those infected can be quarantined, we can’t risk lifting the stay-at-home edict. To do so would be to lose all the advantage we have gained so far.

To do so would be a slap in the face to all the healthcare workers who have made such sacrifices and faced such danger in treating those infected. It would be a slap in the face for everyone who has made a sacrifice to reduce the spread.

 

Posted4/17/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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