3/29/20: STAY HOME. STAY HEALTHY. DON’T CHEAT.

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Stay home. Stay healthy. Don’t cheat.

That is basically the common-sense message of today’s Dare County Emergency Management bulletin about COVID-19, Bulletin No. 20.

See https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6037/1483.

That Dare County felt compelled to issue it is a testament to the apparent lack of common sense being exercised.

It is also the message repeated on the Sunday morning talk shows by state governors, emergency physicians, medical reporters, and others commenting on the “stay at home” orders around the country: Don’t be non-compliant, they all urged. Don’t cheat.

“While the weather is beautiful,” the Dare County bulletin states, “and the therapeutic value of getting outside and enjoying the sunlight and fresh air is immeasurable, we ask everyone to respect the order that is in place and limit your travel.

“We cannot stress enough,” it continues, “that maintaining social distancing is one of the most effective tools we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For the safety of you, your family and our community, don’t make exceptions to this order of social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of separation from others (non-family members).”

While The Beacon does not wish to scold, we nonetheless have to wonder in which essential activities all of the drivers that we’ve seen traverse the year-round Southern Shores neighborhood are engaging. Is everyone coming and going to the grocery store? Are the trips they’re making absolutely necessary?

Earlier today, OBX Today reported that the Currituck County Sheriff’s Office has established a vehicle checkpoint at the Duck-Corolla line, where Currituck and Dare counties meet. Sheriff’s deputies may be asking similar questions.

The Town of Nags Head has updated its message to the public, saying it is “essential that the public voluntarily comply with the [stay at home] proclamations for them to be effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Self-regulation and encouraging others, including friends, family and neighbors, is the most effective way to implement the proclamations.”

Nags Head also makes a request that would seem to be imperative for Southern Shores and other Dare beach towns to make. The Town asks that people not call 911 “if you see someone you perceive to be non-compliant with the proclamations. . . . Concentrate on what you can do for your family and yourself to remain healthy and safe.”

Non-compliance is for law enforcement officers to evaluate and take action to thwart when they encounter it during their patrols. You should call 911 only when you need assistance of an emergent nature.

In today’s bulletin, Dare County reports 1,040 cases of COVID-19 in 69 of 100 N.C. counties, and four deaths associated with the viral infection. These are numbers from the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The Beacon does not put much stock in case counts because testing has been inadequate in North Carolina, as well as everywhere else in the county. Many people who may currently be—or once were—infected with COVID-19 may have been advised to stay home and forgo testing or they may have been denied testing. Many others are waiting for long-delayed test results.

While writing this post, we received pop-up news notices of two more COVID-19-associated deaths in the state: one in Buncombe County and the other in Mecklenburg County.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN this morning that the novel coronavirus could infect millions of people in the United States and kill between 100,000 and 200,000.

He also told a Washington Post reporter in an interview last week: “I’m actually pleading with the younger generation that, although you feel you are invulnerable—which is not true; nobody’s invulnerable—the fight is not only trying to protect yourself. You have a societal, in some respects, moral responsibility to protect yourself so that you don’t inadvertently and unintentionally infect those who are more vulnerable.”

We are still in the early days of the pandemic in the United States. We don’t know yet how well mitigation of the COVID-19 spread will work. Bottom line: Enjoy the beautiful weather, but don’t cheat.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 3/29/20

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