In the wake of the recent announcement from Kate Brown requesting that people stay home during the Pandemic, people are choosing to ignore the strong warning.
Government officials and doctors worldwide agree that the only way to stop the rampant spread of the COVID-19 virus is by social distancing which equates to staying home and staying put unless for absolute necessities. The statistics are scary, but many people in Oregon right now aren’t taking this seriously. A death rate of 1% may seem paltry, but based on the US population in 2019 this equates to a potential three million losses of life.
My buddy took this time lapse video driving from the #OregonCoast to Portland today.
In the middle of a pandemic, this doesn’t look like social distancing to me. pic.twitter.com/8VZJv1PvR6
— Morgan Romero TV (@MorganRomeroTV) March 21, 2020
The novel coronavirus entered the US population near our northern neighbors in Kirkland, WA. Being so close to home, one would imagine Oregonians and vacationers would take the threat seriously, but the glut of visitors to Warrenton, OR was so heavy that local government had to intercede.
Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones was furious.
“Today we have been appalled by the sight of tens of thousands of irresponsible vacationers flocking to the coast, as if this was just another spring break week, with callous disregard for residents’ health and safety,” he wrote tonight. “This, despite the governor’s strong urging to stay at home and prohibitions on gatherings larger than 25, [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommendations against gatherings larger than 10, and the constant urgings of the CDC to practice social distancing and stay home except for essential tasks.”
Saturday afternoon, Warrenton Mayor Henry Balensifer issued an immediate 24-hour “eviction notice” to tourists. “We can’t handle having thousands of people flood the city.”
Small coastal towns in Oregon are simply not medically equipped to handle an influx of individuals. Said Balensifer, “My message is: tourists, don’t come here. Not right now. We’ll welcome you back later, the beach is always going to be here, clams are still in the ocean—they don’t catch COVID-19.”
The beach is just one of the places people are finding respite during the COVIC-19 Pandemic, but the Columbia gorge was also packed this weekend due to the sheer amount of people wanting to get outdoors (and reasonably so). Hiking is one of the only safe activities to do during the COVID-19 outbreak, but after seeing the crowds, it’s starting to look like hiking may also put you at risk due to the swarm of people.
ODOT also recently announced, “Expect big delays Tuesday on the Historic Columbia River Highway, ODOT will stop all traffic for more than 20 minutes at a time between 8 am to 4:30 pm at Horsetail Falls to remove trees threatening the road. Flaggers will control the closures. Crews will work to keep each closure to a minimum. Drivers should plan for delays and heavy traffic in the area,” the announcement concludes, in what is probably an understatement.” –via Willamette Week
Understanding what “stay home”, “shelter in place”, and “social distancing” entail are crucial at this time. Grocery shopping, visits to the pharmacy and other critical business will still be allowed, and many studies have shown that exposing oneself to fresh air and sunshine is beneficial if not necessary as Americans buckle down during this crisis.
The danger in not following safe social practices lies in the fact that such a large percentage of Covid-19 cases are completely asymptomatic. While one may feel absolutely well, they may be carrying a high viral load, unknowingly infecting others they come into contact with. In this writer’s humble opinion, that possibility is frightening and a risk I’m not willing to impose upon my fellow humans.
Be safe out there, everyone.
–Original story via our friends at The Oregon Daily