The Color Purple: Sliding Backward into COVID Peril

Posted: November 18, 2020

It was disheartening to see Solano County and 40 others in California backslide into the purple tier Nov. 16, reverting to the most restrictive level that will impede businesses and everyday life for all of us.

The trend was evident in the weeks leading up to the announcement: Cases of COVID-19 were steadily rising in our community, hospital beds were filling, whatever we were doing was not enough to slow the spread of the virus.

So here we are again, much like in the spring, when we believed the virus had reached its pinnacle.

Solano County has experienced less than 100 deaths so far, which relative to other counties is a low number. That is little consolation, however, to the families of those individuals who lost their loved one. Now we are confronted with the inevitable climb in the human toll as we enter the winter months.

We face a very sobering situation, a turning point. But we have in our hands – each and every one of us – the power to do what is right. That’s why I’m asking you to be even more vigilant.

The last several months have given our hospitals time to increase inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) and create plans to flex our capacity. What we cannot stockpile are the highly skilled health care workers at NorthBay Healthcare. Our dedicated care teams, and all those who support them, are exhausted. They’ve been at it for 10 months. They work in difficult conditions, putting on and taking off protective garments, heavy hoods, self-contained breathing apparatus.

Some believe it is annoying – or worse, unconstitutional – to mandate that we wear a face covering for 20 minutes while in the supermarket or hardware store. Consider what it is like for health care providers to wear PPE for an entire eight- or 10-hour shift.

Our frontline workers are grateful for donations received since the beginning of this pandemic – from meals to PPE to free car washes. Now, what we need most is for everyone to wear a mask, wash their hands, social distance and avoid social gatherings during the holidays. It’s now a matter of life and death.

A vaccine, which seemed in March or April a distant possibility, is on its way. But that is no reason to loosen our vigilance.

Having two effective vaccines — Moderna and Pfizer, pending FDA authorization — is a huge step forward. Having them less than a year into the pandemic is a historic achievement. But getting enough doses and distributing them poses difficult logistical hurdles. We probably won’t return to anything like normal life until next summer, at the earliest.

In the meantime, do the right thing. That will be the quickest way to reopen all businesses, get our children back to school, rebuild the economy and save lives.


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