Rantz: Coronavirus shelter-in-place directive seems inevitable in Washington
It feels like a coronavirus shelter-in-place directive is inevitable in Washington state. I don’t have actionable information on this topic, though I hear rumors. But we can turn to Oregon and California, plus previous moves by Governor Jay Inslee, for clues.
At this point, for a variety of reasons, I’d support the painful, but necessary move.
A handful of Northern California counties first declared a coronavirus shelter-in-place directive earlier this week. Then, in a Thursday announcement, the mayor of Los Angeles pursued a similar declaration. So did the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, telling 40 million people to stay home. Portland, Oregon seems ready for the same directive.
Washington can’t be far behind. And while you shouldn’t panic, you should start to prepare.
Coronavirus shelter-in-order is necessary
Too many Americans are dismissing public health directives to self quarantine. Thousands of selfish and stupid spring breakers took to Florida beaches and said they didn’t really care much about the coronavirus. Locally, we’ve even seen senior citizens refuse to comply, some claiming they’ll do as they please.
I’ve heard from a small, but annoyingly loud group of people claiming we should let “a few people die” because, as they ask, “is this really worth the American economy?”
Others say we’re over-hyping the crisis for … reasons unknown.
Both Republicans and Democrats in leadership are urging us to take this seriously. Is needlessly destroying the economy the new bipartisan issue? Is watching a couple episodes of “Carol’s First Act” what qualifies one to understand pandemics better than the experts?
If people won’t act to self-isolate, we won’t flatten the curve before it infects and kills scores more. And if we get more infections, remember, our hospitals will become overwhelmed.
Don’t panic — just prepare
The sooner we get to extreme self-isolating, the faster we’ll get back to a normal life. The longer we wait to slow the spread of coronavirus, the longer people will be out of work or school. Two weeks of self-isolation could get us back on track versus doing it haphazardly.
In a lot of ways, I’d rather just get it over with. It’ll hurt less that way. And you need to be prepared.
Make sure you have what you need and know that you’ll still have access to essentials. Grocery stores will remain open, as will our pharmacies and banks. So don’t hoard.
But also be mentally prepared for spending more time inside. Pick out some TV shows to binge watch (Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm, I Love Lucy), flag some movies on demand (seriously, don’t watch Contagion), and get some books to read (I recommend these books very much). Planning ahead makes it less panic-inducing if the announcement comes.
KTTH (and our sister stations) will remain on the air
If this coronavirus shelter-in-place order comes, know that KTTH (and KIRO and 710 ESPN Seattle) will be there providing live content for you with our digital arm MyNorthwest offering non-stop updates.
On air, I’ll talk you through the developments, while checking in all across the Puget Sound to hear and tell your stories.
I’ve been checking in with cities in our coverage area all week. Sultan Mayor Russell Wiita told us how his community is coming together as businesses struggle. Covington City Councilmember Kristina Soltys told us how her community is handling the economic realities. Federal Way Mayor Jim Farrell told us of his pro-active approach to helping businesses. Snohomish Mayor John Kartak took us through his curbside pick-up program to help restaurants.
We’ll continue to check in with them — and leaders in your communities.
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