Today, YOU are the SUPERHERO, Play Your Part: STAY HOME, WASH YOUR HANDS, WEAR YOUR MASK
The April issue of The Boro* is filed with similar messages. Local doctor Marc Keuler urges “Follow the Rules”, expat Amy Brill from China tells us to ‘keep your distance’, Congressman Matt Cartwright reminds us to protect our loved ones by maintaining physical distance, and Don Seiple, head of St, Luke’s Monroe Campus, tells us we all have a role to play in this - YOUR part is to stay home. Please, play your part. Now is not the time to let up on the physical distancing which has, at least as of this writing, slowed the rate of infection here in Monroe County, and in most of Pennsylvania, a little. It is good for us all to remind ourselves the purpose of this tremendous community sacrifice is not to eliminate the virus, but to “Slow the Spread”. Slowing the spread is necessary so that our health care providers can keep up with the demand - in terms of ventilators, beds, medicines, masks, and, perhaps most importantly, spirit and energy. As we prepare this issue, Monroe County has identified about 800 people with the virus. We did not say “only” 800. To put that number in perspective, if Philadelphia were infected at the same rate as Monroe County, that city would have around 8,000 acknowledged cases -- about 30% more than it actually has today. Many of us are playing our roles, but not enough of us. “Essential businesses” are open for essentials, not as a break from staying at home. If you don’t absolutely need it, then you don’t need to go to the store right now. It’s okay to want to get out, and get out you should -- for your physical and mental health. Take a stroll in the woods, a walk around the block, or a bike ride on the back roads, work in your garden or yard. All of those activities are permitted and safer than going to the store -- if they are done correctly. And that means solitary, or only with members of your own household. Always wear or carry your cloth mask on those outings, just in case you cannot avoid someone also out for their health. Each time you make an unnecessary trip to the store, you endanger retail workers who must be there. They are today’s heroes, showing up for work to make sure you can get your essentials, but only when you absolutely need them. And you endanger other shoppers and the members of your family “safely” back home to whom you can carry the virus that you picked up along with that half-gallon of ice cream you just had to have. When you absolutely must go out, wear your mask. A simple cloth mask is all that you need. (You tube has plenty of “no-sew” instructions on making your own.) If everyone wears a mask we can dramatically slow the spread. As you have surely learned by now, this virus is most dangerously spread by infected people before they even know that they have it. A simple cloth mask prevents you from unwittingly infecting someone else. A cloth mask is the 2020 version of a superhero cape -- wearing it saves lives. We CAN get through this, all if takes is everyone playing their part. Doctors, nurses, orderlies, first responders -- their role is to save lives by doing their jobs. Truck drivers, retail clerks, pharmacy workers - their role is to save lives by making sure you have can get your essentials when you need them. Then there is you - your role is to protect them, to protect someone’s parents, grandparents, or at-risk family members, to save lives by staying home, by washing your hands, and by wearing your masks when you absolutely must go out. YOU are a SUPERHERO. Please keep playing your part like our lives depend on it. Because they do.