Our opinion: Do what you can to help flatten the curve

Published 7:01 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In case you’re disappointed in Gov. Tim Walz’s announcements in recent days to close schools and then to close a series of businesses to limit the spread of the coronavirus, remember it will take everyone working together to lessen the spread of this virus.

The governor and others across the nation are implementing elements of social distancing, which is shown to help slow the transmission and spread of the virus and, as a result, limit the steep number of cases that could be possible without protective measures.

With no protective measures in place, the spike in cases could be larger than our healthcare system can handle, and resources may not be available to help all receive the appropriate care they need. Social distancing helps flatten that curve so the increase in cases slows and not as many people become infected.

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An Associated Press article on Monday said two weeks ago, Italy had 1,700 cases of coronavirus and 34 deaths. Now, the country has an estimated 25,000 cases and more than 1,800 deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 3,487 total cases in the United States as of Tuesday morning. Of those cases, 68 resulted in death. The U.S. could be headed to where Italy is headed if these social distancing measures are not implemented.

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with each other through the respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching his or her own mouth, nose or eyes, though this is not the main way the virus spreads, according to the CDC.

Although the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms in most people, such as a fever or cough, it can cause more severe illness for people with existing health problems.

While we are sad for our local businesses that will be affected by the coronavirus, we encourage people to do their part to limit the spread. While the opportunity is still available, support these businesses by car, phone or other means.

Help protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community.