I'll be blunt and red flag colorful.
People are going to die if Salem's Mayor, City Manager, and City Councilors don't freaking WAKE UP about the danger COVID-19 poses to everybody in our city, but especially to those who are over 60 and those with underlying medical conditions.
With St. Patrick's Day coming up, those city officials need to be screaming from the rooftops of social media, Statesman Journal, Salem Reporter, local radio stations, and Portland TV stations that Salem residents need to stay out of bars, restaurants, and other crowded gathering places until the COVID-19 outbreak has stabilized.
Which will be a while.
Poltico has a good story about the danger we face because of COVID-19 indifference among young people, and, I'm sure, some older people.
The nation’s top infectious diseases expert has a stern warning to young people: Don’t get complacent about statistics showing that serious coronavirus cases and fatalities are skewed toward the elderly and those with underlying health issues.
“You are not immune or safe from getting seriously ill,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked if younger Americans should be concerned about contracting the virus, which Fauci has repeatedly said is more lethal than the average flu.
...Fauci said it was critical for young people to understand that they can be a carrier for the virus and spread it without showing symptoms or feeling ill themselves.
“Even though you don't get seriously ill, you could bring it to a person who would bring it to a person that would bring it to your grandfather, your grandmother, or your elderly relative,” he argued. “That's why everybody's got to take this seriously, even the young.”
...“I would like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction that we see in restaurants and in bars,” he said. “Whatever it takes to do that, that's what I would like to see.”
Well, Salem's Mayor, City Manager, and City Councilors could get off their asses and start the above-mentioned screaming from the rooftops about not congregating in crowded places like bars and restaurants where you can't stay at least six feet from other people.
This is personal for me.
My wife, Laurel, and I are over 70, as are most of our friends. Laurel has asthma, so likely would suffer more if she was infected with COVID-19, or coronavirus. The more people there are wandering around Salem who have COVID-19, even if they aren't showing symptoms, the more likely the disease will spread rapidly.
The time to work to dramatically slow the spread is NOW. So where's the leadership at the City of Salem? Very difficult to see, as a good Salem Breakfast of Bikes post talks about today.
This weekend has seemed like it might be a critical one for reducing the transmission of the coronavirus and the incidence of full-blown COVID-19. It has been dismaying to read accounts of St. Patrick's Day weekend revelry, of long brunch lines, and of crowded airports.
Locally, the City still likely deferred too much to the State guidelines, which have seemed tentative and behind the best information from Italy, Spain, and France, even Seattle, and did not recommend or even demand stronger measures. People in Europe are the proverbial "travelers from the future," begging and imploring for us to take stronger measures before it's too late. There is increasing evidence of asymptomatic transmission, and so without large-scale testing, we should be assuming that there are many more cases here than we know about.
At this point the problem is really about community capacity and slowing transmission, since it seems likely many, perhaps even most, of us will come to be infected over the next several months.
UPDATE: This tweet expresses my feelings exactly.