Doing business in time of pandemic
April 2, 2020
So, we're in Week 2 of the covid-19 virus quarantine.
School was out and is now back in session, but no students are at school. Non-essential businesses have closed; the governor's office issued a 14-page document for guidelines on deciding who is essential or not.
Newspapers and other communication businesses are considered essential, and we continue to publish The Eagle. Like other businesses, we'll keep going till the money is gone, I say, somewhat facetiously. Like many, we're seeing an immediate drop in business. Like others, we bleach the counter, door handles, etc., and wear gloves when we head out of the office.
We had two customers Monday and one Tuesday. People are doing a good job in isolating themselves with what's now semi-officially called social distancing, but as others have suggested should be called physical distancing or compassionate distancing.
That distancing is the key to fighting the spread of this virus. It slows the spread of the illness and eases the strain on the medical community. We need to do that to reduce the number of illnesses and deaths while the nation lumbers toward providing the supplies and tools needed to treat patients, and to develop effective vaccines.
Washington is the state with the first covid-19 death, and we're one of the states with the highest number of cases. I have been pleased with the overall response of our elected and public health officials; once the virus arrived, they went into action.
Hindsight says more could have been done to head off the arrival or to prepare for it, but this is a new virus, and there's a learning curve, to put it mildly.
I have to admit that I looked askance at the déroulement of the virus in Wuhan, China. Politics delayed the initial response--the reputation of political leaders had to be protected, and then there followed seemingly heavy handed measures imposed on the public. However, the Chinese have slowed the infection rate and are getting a grip on the situation.
I feel our health officials at the federal level haven't done as well for reasons similar to those which delayed the response in Wuhan. There was no early nationally coordinated response; warning signs were ignored, and each state was left to its own. And now, well, the response is better, but the US has 23 percent of the population of China and we lead countries of the world in the number of deaths.
Last Friday, I had the third in a series of chemotherapy treatments at Oregon Health and Science University.
I chatted with my nurse, learning she had two children, a two-year-old and a seven-month-old. Her husband was home with the kids, furloughed from his job as a strength coach at the University of Oregon.
I thanked her for being there to administer my treatment. "You all are brave," I said, speaking of all medical providers.
"That's what we signed up for," she said.
Her response left me humbled.
The slogan "Stay Home; Stay Healthy" may sound like someone is trying to be cool, but, yeah, do it.