The Coronavirus battlefield
Soon, Warren County will be the site of a battlefield. The enemy will be the Coronavirus, the pandemic that has swept across the world and has now reached our shores. This has become a World War-level event, with every nation fighting on several fronts. Each one of us will soon be a soldier in this war, our actions dictating the cost of victory in the end.
Fighting the Coronavirus will not be a quick, decisive battle that will occur in one day or even one or two weeks. This will be trench warfare. A long, drawn out seemingly endless stalemate that may in fact occur over a couple of months (sections of China have been under a strict quarantine the last few months and are just now beginning to see a decline in cases.) This is a war of attrition. In order to win this war, steps must be taken to stem the tide.
One tool that the medical community has at their disposal is to quarantine, or limit the activities of those ill as well as to establish restrictions on the general population in order to slow down the number of cases. This is important because if the number of infected are kept at a manageable level, the heavy artillery in this fight (the hospitals, doctors, and especially nurses) will not be swamped or overrun at a time when those most at risk need every available resource at their disposal in order to survive.
When the Coronavirus hits, the local medical community will be overburdened. Doctors and nurses will get sick and those left will be fighting an uphill battle. People will grow restless and frustrated under the new restrictions as the weeks go by. This has happened in Warren County before. Back in 1918 the Spanish Flu caused a statewide quarantine in Pennsylvania. By October 28, 1918, the Warren Evening Mirror reported that “never in the history of Oakland and St. Joseph Cemeteries were so many graves dug as in the past two weeks” due to the Spanish Flu outbreak. It was a long, drawn out battle, but the quarantines did help limit the damage.
Remember, you will be part of this upcoming fight. There are two ways you can help us win the war. The first is by combating the virus directly. If we practice social distancing, limit non-essential interactions and use good hygiene (wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water) we can help stem the tide and shorten the time it takes to end the quarantines. Also, just because you feel well after recovering from the virus doesn’t mean you are safe. You will still have the virus and will still be able to infect others around you almost two weeks after showing no signs of the symptoms.
The second way you can help is by addressing the after effects of the outbreak. There are those among us who live from paycheck to paycheck. If they miss just one paycheck, they will not be able to cover their basic bills like food or rent. There are children who rely on school meals for food. With the schools closed, they will not receive those meals. The local businesses will suffer. One suggestion for these businesses is that they should sell digital gift cards online during a quarantine in order to generate some capital.
We will see how things play out, but I am encouraged at the steps already being taken by many local businesses as well as the local government. In war, it’s best to have the trenches already in place instead of trying to dig them out in the middle of a charge. These next few months will be difficult, but we can do this together. We’re about to head to the front lines, after all. Good luck and God bless.