Yes, We have Covid-19 Here

Editorial by Mary Blyth Jones
Coalinga Press

Last week we presented a graph (below) provided by Fresno County Department of Public Health. We also discussed the ramifications of what the graph showed. Not wanting to cause panic, I reported the line provided by FCDPH: Four or fewer cases means that it could be anything from four to zero cases. That was literally as far as I could go with FCDPH.

I even retracted my statement that proposed since it said four or fewer cases, it probably indicated that there was at least one case, or the city would not be on the list. Several readers were alarmed and said that I should not panic our community, so I retracted those statements and left it open ended.

FCDPH will never either confirm or deny facts about illness in a community unless one is a health care provider or has some other massive amount of sway. I do not. So anyway, as of last Tuesday, it was confirmed that we had at least one case of covid-19 in Coalinga. I believe there are currently at least two confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Coalinga.

Last week FCDPH announced that they would no longer be contacting the city managers of locales where Covid-19 cases were confirmed. They gave a series of reasons for that. The very bottom line of their reasoning was that everyone should act as though everyone around them has the virus. We all need to be vigilant, wear masks, gloves, wash hands and all that.

False security lures residents to become complacent and lazy in their behavior. Every person needs to act with determination and decision. We all need to act like the wrong move could end the world. It won’t, of course, but it could end someone else’s world through illness and death.

While many people are compliant, following guidelines and orders from our governor or FCDPH, there are those who don’t. It’s just being in grade school when that one kid (or whoever) makes the choice to do their own thing. The problem here, though, is those who are non-compliant are also argumentative and sometimes condescending.

“A mask doesn’t protect you from other people’s germs,” said one resident. “It just keeps other people safe from you.” The reasoning continues to the obvious conclusion: since I feel fine, and I know I’m not sick, I don’t have to wear a mask.

I have two arguments about this. One. A mask may not be sufficient to keep all those little virus critters out, but no one really knows if it might be helpful in keeping some of them out. If I am told that wearing a mask does provide some protection for myself and those around me, then I am going to wear a mask. Since we can’t be 100% certain that any of us is totally virus free, it seems like a good idea to protect the people we love.

The other problem is that some people who disagree with the whole protection and distancing theories belittle those who follow those guidelines and orders. I have heard things from: “It’s fine with me if I die.” To “I’m not buying into the panic and fear.” I have seen this, and I have experienced the harsh assessments of others about my own behavior.

Folks, what we choose to do does not just affect you. It affects every person with whom you connect.

Covid-19 is here among us. It is an invisible enemy. But you can diffuse it by your choices. We all know the drill: wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Wear a mask. Wear gloves. Stay home.

Today’s graph (Tuesday, April 14) the community of Coalinga is at the top of the list of those towns with four or fewer cases. I am not an expert, but I am going to surmise that the towns are ranked along that list according to how many cases they have. I am guessing that by Friday, Coalinga will be listed with the other communities which have five or more cases of Covid-19.

That doesn’t mean anyone needs to panic. You know what to do.