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Treat COVID-19 like a natural disaster (opinion)

By ThisIsReno
Published: Last Updated on

Submitted by Kurt Thigpen

kurt thigpen

I know a lot of you, like me, are struggling with where we’re at as a country, divided as ever over how seriously to take this Coronavirus scare. I was skeptical at first about the seriousness of the virus, but when my colleagues in the healthcare field started to tell me “this is big,” I listened.

My husband and I had just gotten back from a trip to Georgia to visit my family for a week, and shortly thereafter we decided to follow the trend of the rest of the country and sequester ourselves home as a precaution. Luckily, after a few weeks of social distancing from the rest of the world, we are fine.

In the last several weeks I’ve seen heated debates on Facebook, folks hosting house parties, and meetups at Virginia Lake where people are definitely not six feet apart. People are bringing their kids to the park and senior citizens (the most vulnerable to this virus) are not wearing masks. Witnessing this behavior, with more people getting infected and dying every day, is maddening to say the least.

I think a lot of us Americans have this “we’re tougher than this” mentality, or “it couldn’t happen to me” thought process that we are invincible. Until it hits home, and by then it is too late.

Well folks, I have news for you. This virus is bigger than you, me and any opinions we have around the seriousness of it. When every level of government around the globe, the CDC, doctors, nurses and scientists tell you to stay home – you better listen.

I get it. It sucks being told to stay home. As a small business owner, I’m scared about what this will mean for me and my family. I worry about how our community will bounce back from this. But, I know that we’ll get through it. Why? Because we’ve been through some tough times.

I’m reminded of being a teenager in Georgia in 2005 when we kept getting hammered by hurricanes. It felt relentless. Schools were cancelled indefinitely like they are now, and we had no choice but to stay home or risk death or injury. We were living through a natural disaster as people were dying in our state, but more so in New Orleans when Katrina hit.

This pandemic should be treated with the same level of caution as a natural disaster. While the source of this disaster is invisible and our homes are intact, thousands of people are dying.

If we don’t stay home, wear protective face masks and wash our hands repeatedly, it will get a whole lot worse for all of us before it gets better. I am pleading with the folks who are still having doubts to do everyone a favor and stay home. Not just for you, but for all of us.

Submitted opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of This Is Reno. Have something to say? Submit an opinion article here.

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