No, You Can’t Just Visit a Friend

Don’t go to a friend’s house this week. You are welcome. Even if you and your friends are young and healthy, even if it’s “just one friend”, even if “it’s okay if I get sick, I’m ready to take this chance”, even if “We will be careful and wash our hands, I promise! “

We are in the midst of a pandemic, we live in a country that has responded poorly to almost every conceivable metric . The original test we developed didn’t work. The virus had been spreading in Washington state for weeks before anyone knew it. Meanwhile, the reaction of the current administration was slow and haphazard, the states were forced to take the preparations into their own hands. The US response to this pandemic belies all predictions in the worst possible way, a delay that will cost lives.

How far this pandemic gets worse depends on all of our actions. Yes, our actions. This includes you, me, your friends, your parents, and your neighbors, all of whom must do their part to smooth the curve and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed.

As stressful as it is now, the grim reality is that we are at the beginning of a pandemic, not at the end. The worst hasn’t happened yet. We still don’t have enough tests. We are dangerously short of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. We don’t have enough intensive care beds and ventilators in case of a spike in cases. We must all do our best to prevent the further spread of this phenomenon.

Our doctors and nurses are on the front lines, risking their lives to keep people from dying. They don’t have enough resources. They are already making unimaginable decisions about how to care for patients without proper protection. Hospitals are already forced to make plans about who will get a ventilator and who will not if there is a shortage. If this continues, doctors will have to make decisions about which patients will receive a ventilator and which will not, because there won’t be enough for everyone. Meanwhile, Italy has already been forced to standardize ventilators , and they have more hospital beds per capita than we do.

Doctors and nurses depend on the people who stay at home to keep them safe so they can work to protect us. They deserve our respect. More importantly, they need us to stay at home. This means no visits with friends. Even if you feel healthy, you can still be contagious , you can still infect others, and even being young doesn’t mean you won’t develop serious complications .

Physical distancing is tricky. Physical distancing is lonely. There are so many new restrictions in our lives, so many amenities that we had to give up, so many celebrations that we had to postpone. People have canceled birthday parties, graduation ceremonies, family gatherings, unique vacations, and weddings. For all of us, normal activities have come to an abrupt halt, and we have had to abandon our calming rituals, just when we need friendship more than ever.

We are all in this together. For us, this means staying at home.

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