Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
In our Commonwealth of Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam issued an executive order which under penalty of law dictated that all Virginians stay at home with limited exceptions until June 10th 2020. In doing so he joined the ranks of State Governors in 30 other states and the District of Columbia to implement Stay at Home orders. Nineteen States have not issued them or allowed counties or cities do a patchwork of individual orders. Earlier in the month Northam had already shut down all but non-essential businesses and issued an order that limited any venue to a maximum venue of 10 patrons who had to observe a six foot social distance.
This came on the day that Virginia experienced its greatest increase in new cases since the disease hit with its first two infections on 28 February. Now there are 1,020 cases, and 25 deaths in the state. 993 of the cases are active which means that there have only been two people who recovered. Thus our death rate in Virginia is 92%. This will probably level out as the mild cases recover, but the disease is expanding at a relentless place here, as it is around the globe.
So what do any of us do to keep ourselves and others safe? Remember an infected person can remain asymptotic for up to 14 days, with the virus replicating by the millions by itself by attaching its particularly effective RNA receptors to the cells in our upper respiratory systems, or of you happen to get a good enough whiff, your lungs. In the latter case you will probably get a very bad pneumonia, and need ICU care and be put on a ventilator. In the the former case, which is the most common, you might experience mild symptoms that you recover from even as you spread the virus to others; unless you practiced uncommon social distancing and washed your hands like you are supposed to do.
So I’m not going to pontificate. This shit is damned serious and everyone should be at the minimum taking CDC and WHO guidance seriously, as well as endure the pain of the momentary social isolation imposed by states and municipalities in order to save lives, maybe yours, your family members, friends, or co-workers.
My personal recommendation is that we all obey the legal, or voluntary actions to protect ourselves and others, but take it up a notch. Although WHO and the CDC initially said that it was not necessary to wear face masks, or gloves, many epidemiologists and virologists are suggesting otherwise. I wouldn’t be surprised if every national and international health agency begin to do what I suggest now, things that my wife and I are both doing. We don’t leave home without them.
First, if you have to go out for any reason, get some kind of protective face mask. The N-95 is the gold standard, but if you cannot get that, surgical masks or even scarves. The N-95 both ensures protection from the virus, as well as spreading it. The other options provide some protection to you or others, if you keep the six foot social distancing rule. That being said, there are a number of easily available designs suggested by doctors and nurses that provide protection that is reasonably close to the N-95. In fact they provide them on the internet who are willing to help make them for medical providers until N-95s and other personal protective equipment is available in the quantities required.
Likewise one should wear disposable vinyl gloves. If you cannot find them in a pharmacy you can get them online. It might take a week or two to get them, but get them. If you cannot get them get some rubber gloves, the kind that you use for dish washing or cleaning, but you will have to disinfect them after every use, and please make sure to make sure that when disinfecting them, disinfect your hands. Additionally make sure that you have disinfectant wipes at home, work, and in your vehicle. The Virus can live on solid surfaces for days, things like gas pumps, grocery shelves, tables, desks, car door handles, steering wheels, and shifters, not to mention door handles and hardware. To use an old Navy term, this is a no shitter.
However, as painful and inconvenient these measures are they are the only way to level the infection and death curve, prevent the collapse of our medical system, and make sure that we are ready for the next round in what many epidemiologists and virologists consider to be an 18-24 month battle.
By the way, here are the latest casualty reports from the novel Coronavirus War:
Worldwide there are 786,536 cases, 37,861 deaths, and 165,660 recoveries. That is a 19% death rate, while 583,495 active cases. In the United States, which now leads the world in infections, but not yet deaths there are 164,266 cases, 3,170 deaths and 5,507 recoveries, a 37% death rate, with 155,589 active cases. Remember, on 8 March there were just 516 cases and just 21 deaths in the United States.
My advice is to take this is to do the right thing. Don’t believe conspiracy theories or in miracle cures. The first are simply lies, the second, deadly delusions promoted by charlatans who only want your money and couldn’t give a damn if you live or die.
Those are cold hard facts. Disbelieve them at the risk of your life and the lives of those you love, care about, or don’t even know.