Opinion writers weigh in on the historic measures being taken at the state level and in other places around the world to control the spread of COVID-19.
San Francisco Chronicle: Bay Area Shelter Orders Show Need For An Unprecedented Public Effort
San Francisco and five surrounding counties concurred in an unprecedented order to shelter in place for the next three weeks as of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, a testament to the need for aggressive, informed and unified action to counter the rapidly escalating threat of the new coronavirus. Mayor London Breed and her counterparts around the region thereby showed the leadership this crisis calls for and spoke to the public trust, cooperation and calm required to ensure that the order is effective. (3/16)
The Washington Post: Coronavirus In Spain: This Is A Message From The Future
I’m in Madrid, a ghost town battered by the coronavirus. Over the weekend, the Spanish government declared a state of emergency and imposed a strict quarantine on all citizens. We can’t leave the house unless it’s to buy food or medicine or take care of a sick relative. Schools and universities are closed. The same goes for stores, movie theaters, bars, restaurants. Police officers patrol the streets, ready to detain or fine people who violate the quarantine. Going outside to run or for a walk is prohibited. (Ignacio Escolar, 3/16)
The New York Times: How To Rally America Against Coronavirus
In 1941, with war tearing through Europe and Asia and America on the precipice of joining the conflict, President Franklin D. Roosevelt compelled and inspired industries and individuals to rally for the greater good. Food was rationed without rioting, and car plants all but stopped producing automobiles in favor of tanks and fuselages. By 1944, American factory workers were building nearly 100,000 warplanes a year — or about 11 per hour. The United States is again faced with a crisis that calls for a national response, demanding a mobilization of resources that the free market or individual states cannot achieve on their own. (3/17)
The Washington Post: Life In The Time Of Covid-19 Is Totally Unprecedented
I was at the supermarket Sunday and ran into a colleague who lives nearby. We were chatting — from a safe distance — about how the way we work has changed over the past week. Then a neighbor of mine, a longtime but not close acquaintance, walked up to say hello and extended his hand. Reflexively, I shook it. Oh boy. My colleague must have noticed the panic in my eyes. (Eugene Robinson, 3/16)
The Hill: Trump Fell Asleep At Switch As COVID-19 Spread
History will record that Donald Trump was asleep at the switch while a deadly virus derailed the United States. We can only hope the next president gets the nation back on the right track. At a campaign rally in South Carolina on Feb. 28 the president claimed Democrats had politicized the coronavirus outbreak and it was “their new hoax”. (Brad Bannon, 3/16)
The Hill: Social Distancing Puts Most Vulnerable For Health Disparities At Risk
When the World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded COVID-19 to pandemic status, we rose to the call, beginning to practice social distancing. But, this leaves the poor and those already at the highest risk for health and other disparities at greatest early risk. (Dr. Erin Paquette, 3/16)
The New York Times: Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired
When news of a mysterious viral pneumonia linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China, reached the outside world in early January, one of my first reactions was to order a modest supply of masks. Just a few weeks later, there wasn’t a mask to be bought in stores, or online for a reasonable price — just widespread price gouging. Many health experts, no doubt motivated by the sensible and urgent aim of preserving the remaining masks for health care workers, started telling people that they didn’t need masks or that they wouldn’t know how to wear them. (Zynep Tufekci, 3/17)
The Hill: We The People Confront COVID-19
American companies, organizations, universities, state and local governments, and individual citizens have heeded the advice of scientists and medical experts with a massive response to limit the spread of COVID-19. Universities have sent students home and put all classes online, Disneyland is closed, Broadway is dark, and the NBA and March Madness have canceled play. This overwhelming response was launched in the absence of a national response. (James Alwine and Felicia Goodrum Sterling, 3/16)
Boston Globe: Hospitals Must Now Plan For Pandemic’s Worst
We know one thing for sure about the strange new world of the coronavirus into which the nation has now been plunged — it will get worse before it gets better. Health care experts are agreed on that point. So the issue becomes how best to manage the inevitable — the patients who will need care in this city that has proudly claimed to be a health care mecca, a place with the resources, the brain power and the capacity to work wonders. (3/14)
Detroit Free Press: Stay Home If You Can To Help America Contain Coronavirus, Save Lives.
The coronavirus pandemic seemed so far away just weeks ago. No one likes to be isolated and sit at home and be bored. You want to be near friends as you work from home. The numbers you’re hearing about the virus seem too big to believe. You’re worried about your neighbors and the impact on local businesses and workers. You feel healthy, and how much worse can it be than the flu, after all? COVID-19 is spreading, and you won’t know you’re infected until you’ve already infected others. Right now, you have no immunity to prevent you from getting the disease. It’s especially lethal for older people or those with underlying conditions. This will come to communities in waves and will be a marathon, not a sprint, so pay attention to local events. And our hospitals won’t have sufficient resources — people, beds, ventilators or protective gear — if cases keep spreading as fast as they are in Italy. But there’s something important you can do: #StayHome. (3/16)
NBC News: Coronavirus Calls For Social Distancing And An End To Shaking Hands. Here’s What We’re Losing.
Keep your social distance, avoid crowded places — and above all, don’t shake hands! I understand the rationale for these directives from public health officials as we increase our efforts to fend off the spread of the coronavirus, but, oh, how I mourn what we are losing as a result. (Carol Kinsey Goman, 3/12)
Miami Herald: Florida Residents Perilously Misinformed, Untested In Coronavirus Pandemic
Last week was as confusing as it was aggravating, as frustrating as it was life-threatening. The level of misinformation, suspect information and, perhaps, outright lies coming from the people we elected to competently guide us through such crises as the coronavirus pandemic was simply stunning. Among those recently testing positive was Miami’s young leader, Francis Suarez, the first American mayor to contract the coronavirus. He announced Friday that he tested positive for COVID-19. (3/13)
Des Moines Register: Coronavirus In Iowa: It Is Time For Us Isolate For A While
Life as we know it is grinding to a halt. It should be. As painful as the economic and household disruptions may be, Iowa needs a widespread pause on normal activities to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. It is critical to do what health experts call “flattening the curve,” which refers to spreading out infections and illnesses over a longer period, to increase the prospect that medical capacity will be sufficient. Medical experts understand this. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ directions since late Sunday indicate recognition that these steps cannot be avoided. (3/15)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: People With Good Reason To Worry About Coronavirus Keep Getting The Runaround
Few things undermine coronavirus containment efforts more than when public health officials provide confusing guidance or appear to shrug off citizens’ real concerns about possible exposure and symptoms. Government officials, doctors, hotline operators and anyone else interacting with the public must provide consistent responses when people with legitimate concerns and symptoms seek help. Experts say most people with symptoms such as a sneezing, fever, aches and cough are probably not infected with the novel coronavirus. Other flu viruses and sometimes even springtime allergies can produce similar symptoms. But the last thing authorities should do is dismiss people’s concerns because they’re overwhelmed or, worse, because they’re trying to hide the fact that test kits aren’t available to meet demand. (3/16)
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