In order to successfully manage the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak, we all have to come together to help each other… And that begins by maintaining at least six feet of physical distance between each other. Seems simple, doesn’t it?
Apparently, either it’s not for a certain mayor of a certain major Nevada city and certain county sheriff, or they know the risk and they just don’t care about the consequences of large quantities of people defying the new rule of social distancing. This right here is dangerous as hell.
First, let’s examine why Steve Sisolak urged us all to, “Stay home, Nevada.”
As he was announcing his new emergency order to shut down all Nevada casinos and call on all other non-essential businesses to close (physical) shop until it’s safe to reopen, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) implored upon everyone, “Stay home. Prevent the spread of disease.” He then added, “This is affecting the lives of our people. People are dying! It’s incumbent on the people of this state to take this seriously!”
At the press conference where he announced his order, Sisolak touched upon the science behind the novel coronavirus. Contrary to the “conventional wisdom” that’s been spreading all over social media, COVID-19 is far more virulent than the typical seasonal flu. While some COVID-19 symptoms resemble those of the flu, it’s averaging a 1%-3.4% mortality rate and landing about 19% of those infected in the hospital.
Contrary to naysayers who claim it’s “no big deal”, the novel coronavirus primarily attacks the lungs, and it essentially hijacks lung cells and reprograms these cells into producing more copies of this COVID-19-inducing virus. As the virus begins to destroy the lungs, infected patients have more difficulty breathing.
The virus then has the potential to spread to the kidneys to attack infected patients’ bodies’ ability to filter waste out of blood. It can then lead to inflammation all over their bodies. It can even cause multiple organs to fail, and this potential for organ failure shows why COVID-19 is so deadly for those whose immune systems can’t handle this kind of severe attack.
No good, Mayor Goodman
During their community (virtual) town hall with Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas), Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft and Henderson Mayor Debra March publicly affirmed the science that local health officials were explaining and agreed with them in urging everyone to maintain six feet of distance between each other and practice the scientists’ other recommendations to prevent further spread of COVID-19. As of this afternoon, Nevada has 84 patients who’ve tested positive for the novel coronavirus and one confirmed COVID-19 related death.
Now contrast their approach, the Washoe County Commission’s approach, and other local elected officials’ approach throughout the state with White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henriod’s and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s. In White Pine County, Henriod openly encouraged residents to defy Sisolak’s order in going out and frequenting businesses in person.
And in Las Vegas, The Nevada Independent’s Daniel Rothberg reported that during the city council meeting, “Mayor Carolyn Goodman says she is going to push Gov. Steve Sisolak to shorten the shut down. She went on to list other diseases that people have survived, including West Nile and the general flu. It is not. Incredible.”
Don’t listen to Carolyn Goodman and Scott Henriod. Do pay attention to the scientists who know what they’re talking about.
Goodman then insisted that Nevada’s statewide shutdown go no longer than 14 days, despite the growing chorus of scientists who are warning us all that this COVID-19 pandemic will probably last far longer than 14 days. In fact, Dr. Adam Kucharski, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who literally wrote the book on how outbreaks spread (The Rules of Contagion), recently told Vox, “This virus is going to be circulating, potentially for a year or two, so we need to be thinking on those time scales. There are no good options here.”
Or in other words, Carolyn Goodman either doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about, or she does and she just doesn’t care. And the same goes for Scott Henriod. Quite frankly, we’ll be lucky if we can return to some kind of “business as usual” in 30 days. More likely, we’ll have to learn how to get better together by staying (at least six feet) apart.
While we shake our heads over certain local elected officials’ bone-headed stupidity, let’s remember how we can act to help each other now: If you’re in need of medical treatment, contact your primary health care provider first. If you fear you can’t afford treatment from a hospital or doctor’s office, check with the Southern Nevada Health District, Washoe County Health District, Carson City Health and Human Services, or the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services for resources in your area. If you can afford proper treatment and you are fortunate enough to help others in need, please donate to larger operations like Mutual Aid Disaster Relief and local groups like Three Square.