People in all but five states are living under partial or statewide shelter-in-place orders. Why not North Dakota?

Right now is the time to keep people in their homes with shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19. U.S. citizens have heard this message over and over and over again from scientific and medical experts in communicable diseases.

The New York Times reports that, “…at least 311 million people in at least 41 states, three counties, eight cities, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are being urged to stay home.

As of today (April 3, 2020), the only states without restrictions in at least a part of them are Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and, of course, my state of North Dakota.

Why? What are mayors, county commissioners and governors waiting for?

Dakota Do-Nothings

Last week, I wrote a letter to N.D. Gov. Doug Burgum, asking him to issue a statewide, mandatory shelter-in-place order. I provided a version of that letter for download, customization and use by anyone and everyone.

Nothing from him so far. He and his counterpart to the south seem to be taking the same do-nothing approach.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is telling her constituents that it’s “everyone’s personal responsibility to take the right actions.”

There are many problems with that view and approach, but here’s the biggie:

Sadly – and I’d say stupidly – too many people will not voluntarily do what we need them to do. People are out spreading the virus to each other. One person gives it to two, each of those give it to two more, each of those four give it to two more…

See where that’s headed?

Every time one person with coronavirus interacts with others, s/he is the cause of dozens, perhaps hundreds and maybe even thousands of infections.

The whole “personal responsibility” thing isn’t working, and it won’t moving forward. That’s just the way it is.

COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place. Now.

I sent a similar letter to the mayor of my city, Fargo, N.D., yesterday. Mayor Tim Mahoney got back to me within minutes saying, “We are moving in this direction.”

I urge Mayor Mahoney and other city officials to move quickly. “Immediately” would be good.

In a press conference a couple of days ago, Mahoney asked people, especially young people, to take shelter-in-place recommendations more seriously. Burgum, during his own news conference yesterday, also referring to social-distancing guidelines, bemoaned the fact that “some people are not taking this seriously.”

Well, folks, there is a serious solution readily at hand  –

Issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders. Do it now.

Coming Soon to a Home Near You

This hits close to home. In my letter to Burgum, I included this –

My wife is a registered nurse on the front lines. She is working directly with coronavirus and COVID-19 patients in a Special Care Unit in Fargo. She puts her life on the line every day she steps onto the unit, as do her fellow nurses, doctors and support staff. People who do not social distance put the lives of these healthcare heroes on the line, as well.

However, it’s not just about me and my spouse of 25 years. It’s about everyone in Fargo, North Dakota and throughout the United States. With the latest information from scientists, infection and death in all our homes are literally just a breath away.

I do not believe I was overdramatic in my letters to both men when I said that right now, in this very moment, they have an opportunity to save lives, to slow the spread of coronavirus and limit the number of deaths from COVID-19.

But they must act. The science and mathematics of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic are clear.

Hesitation right now, in this moment, will cost lives.

 

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Featured graphic – underlying map by the New York Times, question mark guy by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay. 

 

 

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