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PD Editorial: We’re all in this coronavirus fight together

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How To Reduce Your Risk

Local health officials urge practicing good hygiene to reduce the risk of becoming infected with a respiratory virus, such as the flu or coronavirus. This includes:

• Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
• Avoid touching your eyes and face
• Cough or sneeze into your sleeved elbow
• Stay home when ill
• Get a flu shot, and it’s not too late this season

Source: Sonoma County Department of Health Services

For more information, go to sonomacounty.ca.gov/Health/Information-About-Coronavirus.

Questions or concerns can be directed to the county’s 24-hour information hotline at 211 or 800-325-9604. You can also text "COVID19" to 211211 for coronavirus information.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush urged Americans to get back to their daily routines as quickly as possible. For the coronavirus pandemic, the advice to the public is just the opposite: Stay home, and steer clear of other people.

For the 502,000 residents of Sonoma County, this is our second day under a shelter-in-place order. On Day 1, most people appeared to be taking the directive seriously. But how long will our “new normal” last? At least three weeks, according to county health officials, but no one knows for certain. Meanwhile, similar restrictions are being imposed elsewhere in California and across the country.

A lockdown may seem like an overreaction to some, but this isn’t the time to second-guess guidelines and directives from public health experts. By most accounts, the situation is going to get worse. What would that look like?

Italy, which has been under a national lockdown since March 10, reported 475 deaths on Wednesday, the most largest number by any country on a single day. Hospitals are overrun, obituaries fill the newspapers, and morticians are struggling to take care of the dead.

“In the part of Italy hit hardest by the coronavirus, the crematorium has started operating 24 hours a day,” the Washington Post reported Monday. “Coffins have filled up two hospital morgues, and then a cemetery morgue, and are now being lined up inside a cemetery church. The local newspaper’s daily obituary section has grown from two or three pages to 10, sometimes listing more than 150 names, in what the top editor likens to ‘war bulletins.’ ”

In Iran, the government is digging mass graves. And a sobering new analysis by infectious disease experts at Imperial College in Great Britain says that without more aggressive action hundreds of thousands could die in the UK and the U.S.

Those are nightmare scenarios no one wants to see.

After stubbornly denying any threat for weeks, President Donald Trump finally is taking executive action. On Wednesday, he ordered Navy hospital ships to both coasts and invoked a 1950 war powers law to speed up the production of masks, ventilators and other equipment needed by hospitals to treat coronavirus patients.

In the spirit of wartime mobilization, the rest of us need to do our part. That means complying with shelter-in-place orders, which are intended to limit the spread of COVID-19, a contagious respiratory infection, to a level that local hospitals and health care providers can manage. “The worry with this is that our health care system capacity would be surpassed,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s interim health officer.

It isn’t a quarantine. You can go to the grocery store or the bank, fill your gas tank, order a take-out meal from your favorite restaurant or look in on a family member. You can walk the dog or go for a run at Spring Lake or your favorite park. Just remember the social distancing guidelines: no groups larger than 10, and stay 6 feet away from one another.

Lives are at stake. All of us need to meet the challenge.

You can send a letter to the editor at letters@pressdemocrat.com.

How To Reduce Your Risk

Local health officials urge practicing good hygiene to reduce the risk of becoming infected with a respiratory virus, such as the flu or coronavirus. This includes:

• Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
• Avoid touching your eyes and face
• Cough or sneeze into your sleeved elbow
• Stay home when ill
• Get a flu shot, and it’s not too late this season

Source: Sonoma County Department of Health Services

For more information, go to sonomacounty.ca.gov/Health/Information-About-Coronavirus.

Questions or concerns can be directed to the county’s 24-hour information hotline at 211 or 800-325-9604. You can also text "COVID19" to 211211 for coronavirus information.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

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