Terribly mixed messages about COVID-19 -- who to believe and how careful should we be? | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Almanac Online |


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By Diana Diamond

Terribly mixed messages about COVID-19 -- who to believe and how careful should we be?

Uploaded: Sep 10, 2020

I am very confused because of the mixed messages I've been getting about the coronavirus. On Tuesday, the NYT reported that studies show that we all should continue to self-isolate ourselves, because the virus cases are still increasing and the only way we can control it is to self-isolate and make sure we are at least six feet apart from others if we go outdoors.

On Tuesday the NYT also reported that "COVID-19 patients who are 80 or older are hundreds of times more likely to die than those under 40." Not terribly good news for older folks.

Then on Wednesday the Mercury reported that the state has given "the OK for more places to reopen" and Santa Clara and Santa Cruz are on the top of the approval list because of the number of tests they have performed -- even though they are in the "red tier" -- but no longer in the bad "purple tier." Red doesn't sound great to me.

Santa Clara County said it would allow personal services like massages and manicures to begin indoors, along with museums zoos, aquariums, gyms and fitness centers. Santa Cruz will allow restaurants, places of worship and even movie theaters to resume with some restrictions.

Last Sunday Dr. Anthony Fauci said in his estimation, we opened too quickly early summer, which resulted in a four-fold increase of coronavirus cases during summer months. As of 9/9, we had 6,471,218 total cases in the country and 194,367deaths.

On Thursday, Fauci said we have had spikes in this country this week, and he fears there will be more jumps in two weeks, after Labor Day virus cases can be known.

CNN also reported that 40 percent of people in the U.S. are carriers, and they are responsible for 50 percent of the cases in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Had enough conflicting information yet? But wait. On Wednesday, Bob Woodward' siad in his new book, "Rage," that the president in February said on tape that the coronavirus is very serious, "deadly stuff," worse than the flu, and it is airborne. But the president said he wanted to deempahsize the virus, and hid the alarming COVID-19 reports from the public for months.

The president's choice to say everything was under control and the virus would fade away soon was false, and his not wearing a mask became a political issue. As the NYT reported, one 80-year-ol woman declared to her son, "I don't want to wear a mask because I will look like a Democrat."

So as confusing as these messages are, I have decided to be extra cautious. But some of my friends say they, too, are cautious, but are they?

Late last week I was talking via zoom with several others, several of whom were over 65. They started discussing plans for the Labor Day weekend.
• "Oh, I am having my two daughters and their families over for dinner, as I do every weekend. They are bringing friends, which really makes me happy."
• "I am going swimming at the Y on Friday for an hour, and then some of us are going out for lunch together."
• "I am having four friends over for dinner and we'll sit outside at our small table and just eat, drink and talk until 10 pm."
• "I am working on planning for a parade for my church, and we'll all march downtown, •and we will have a small band behind us."
• "I invited three friends over and we'll sit in my living room Saturday evening watching some old classic films I have."
• "I am having a big BBQ for 10 on Sunday so I will spend Saturday shopping -- the famer's market, Costco, the deli, the bakery, and getting some new plants at the nursery. I hope those lines at the stores aren't too long because I hate wearing my mask for more than 10 minutes."

I listened, and I thought, some of this is okay behavior; some of this is stupid. And here we are in Palo Alto, where we are pretty good at wearing masks the coronavirus rates are rising.

How are we ever going to get rid of this virus in this country with behavior like that? Six people at a backyard small table with no one wearing masks and talking together for four hours -- that's scary, especially since the county has told us if we eat outside with others, only people living in the same house can share a table. Others must have separate tables.

Organizing a church parade accompanied by a small band and marching together for blocks on our narrow sidewalks? Having people over to sit in your living room for three hours watching movies together? Will they all be wearing masks the whole time ad sitting six feet apart?

Please don’t tell me that it's okay for thousands more to die because the deaths are only a small percentage of our country's population, so the coronavirus is no big thing. Yet right now we've had more coronavirus deaths than deaths that occurred during all of WWII.

The big problem to me is we don't know who is a carrier. You may be, or I may be. And that stupid little virus just loves to float around and infect everyone in the room, or marching together in a parade. The virus does not know city and county boundaries, so if one county opens indoor dining but the adjacent county does not, does the virus care?

The virus has had its second coming in Europe the last two weeks, when most countries thought they had gotten rid of it. But this virus is persisting like no other we have known in years.

Unless we really try hard to isolate ourselves as much as possible, COVID 19 will keep on growing around this country and will affect us for months to come. That' scary and I want it over now. So I hope we can all do all we can and try to stay away from others. It works in controlling the virus.