It has been a month since the first cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus cropped up in the state of Pennsylvania.
When I originally wrote this column Sunday evening, I stated "Since March 7, 11,510 citizens tested positive for the virus, while 152 have died." Now, Tuesday afternoon, I have to change those numbers because 14,559 Pennsylvanians have tested positive and 240 have died.
It is obvious those who are not social-distancing remain unconvinced by the virility of the virus. In fact, I see many express woe and concern for our struggling economy. Setting aside the moral implications of worrying more about the economy than your human neighbors, think for a second.
If Pennsylvanians, over the course of the month of April, manage to stamp out this pandemic, then we all get to go back to our regular schedules. But if we allow the coronavirus to continue to spread, Gov. Tom Wolf will need to extend the order further until this virus is eradicated. This, in turn, stalls the date at which our economy can begin rebuilding itself.
Additionally, consider this: How many hundreds – or God forbid thousands – of lives need to be lost before that in of itself takes a toll on the economy? Generational gaps are bad for the economy, no matter which way you look at it.
The longer this pandemic continues, the worse off the economy will be. So do your part and help stop it.
Just because Wolf has provided exceptions for life-sustaining businesses and essential activities does not mean you should take advantage of them. Minimize your contact. Stay away from others. Wear a face mask. Sanitize your hands before and after entering public spaces and touching surfaces in those spaces.
Visits to the grocery store are not opportunities to stretch your legs. As this week’s “The Slate Speaks” states: Be intentional in your movements. Quickly get in, quickly grab what you need, and quickly get out and go home.
Decide who constitutes your “household” and stay with them for the duration of this pandemic. This is not easy. The wear and tear of cabin fever has taken a mental and emotional toll on all of us, but we need to remain strong. Facetime and Zoom your pals instead.
Just because you do not feel you are personally at-risk does not mean these rules do not apply to you. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, adults older than 65 make up 20% of all coronavirus cases. Yet, this demographic makes up 51% of all hospitalizations. The implication from the data is this: Younger adults are catching it and are not getting sick, but are giving it to senior citizens whose bodies are unable to repel the virus.
So stay home and practice social distancing like your parents and grandparents’ lives depend on it (they do). Your family is depending on you. After this is all over, we can get back to watching sports, go see our favorite artists at concerts and mingle with our friends at the bars. But only if we all do our part.
"Your World Today" is a weekly column written by the editor-in-chief of The Slate. It solely represents the subjective opinion of the individual who wrote it. For Staff Editorial opinions, see this week's "The Slate Speaks."