Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Only Time Will Tell…

Guidelines Extended Another 30 Days


Last updated 4/10/2020 at 10:43am

The fight against this COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, as it continues to worsen with the number of cases rising each day, state and nationwide.

With what started out as a disease that closely resembled the flu, it has easily taken over to something even deadlier.

The United States now has more than 161,870 confirmed cases, surpassing China and Italy, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. In California, there is over 6,300 cases, and testing is still being done. Deaths in the U.S. has already hit over 2,900 as of March 30, with 5,595 recovered.

NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said that the U.S. could possibly experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections due to COVID-19.

The initial 15-day period was set to be lifted on March 30, and what President Donald Trump had anticipated for things to open by Easter, he announced the extension of the restrictive social distancing guidelines for another 30 days through April 30, bowing to public-health experts who presented him with even more dire projections for the expanding pandemic. In his press conference the following days, he added that the next 30 days are “vital.”

San Diego County officials re-emphasized the need for residents to stay at home and to follow the guidelines as the number of local cases surpassed 500 for a total of 519 with seven deaths, as of March 30.

COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and the first infections were linked to a live animal market, and they have not reported any new cases of the disease.

On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread. As a result, this also meant the closure of non-essential businesses. The order would last for at least eight weeks, but said that he could not give a concrete end date.

Social distancing has been proven to slow the spread of pandemics so that those sick do not overwhelm the local health care system, who are on the frontlines fighting against it firsthand. The goal is to “flatten the curve of COVID-19 – to spread the number of new cases out over time – and lessen the number of people who come in contact with the virus and the need of hospitalization.

San Diego County Public Health officials announced that on midnight March 17, until March 31, all bars and other establishments that serve alcohol and do not serve food are to close. All restaurants that serve food shall close on-site dining, and food is to be served via pick-up, delivery or curbside. Then with Newsom’s order, it was indefinite for the rest of the state. But with the restricted guidelines being extended, the issue is until further notice.

In what many see as some sign of relief in terms of cash and assistance, it doesn’t look like all will benefit from the 880-page measure, a $2 trillion stimulus bill, the biggest economic stimulus in American history. The bill, filled with hard-fought negotiations, was put forth to respond to the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously on March 25, and put forth to the House on March 27, which was later signed by the President later that day.

Here are a few key elements of the proposal:

$250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families

$250 billion in small business loans

$250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits

$500 billion in loans for distressed companies

While this stimulus bill, also named as the CARES Act, provides some type of relief during this time, many are looking to solutions in hopes of defeating COVID-19 or even preventing being infected. No vaccine has been created to fight against this disease, and one could be months away, but there have been talks of drugs on the market that are being used in clinical trials that may or may not help fight the disease.

As the U.S. struggles to slow the spread, having to deal with the shutdown of businesses, non-essential and even essential, many are grappling with how to survive times like these. With the uncertainty of going back to work, despairing over finances, fearful for themselves, relatives, neighbors and not knowing what holds for tomorrow.

We have yet to see the end of the pandemic, but it looks like it will peak before our eyes. Only time will tell how soon this nightmare will be over, but to flatten the curve, all must follow the guidelines of staying at home and practice safe social distancing.

We’re all in this together.

Full article in the April 2 issue of the Borrego Sun.

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