COVID-19 is Here. Let's Dance.
It's hard not to watch the Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 map. Somehow we feel better if our little county is in the white: no reported cases. It makes us nervous when counties near by start to light up. But here is the truth: SARS-CoV-2 is here, among us, even as we speak. Some facts:
COVID-19 is a mild illness for the majority of people. Thus reported cases vastly underestimate its true presence in a community.
There will be many people who become severely ill with this virus and some of these will die. These are the cases most likely to be tested and reported.
When this started no human being had immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We can expect most people who come into contact with it will be infected. That means most of us, you and me, are likely to be infected at some time.
Social distancing, isolation, and quarantine were never designed or expected to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering our community. These measures only slow the spread enough so we can protect our most vulnerable and care for the most ill among us without overwhelming the health care system.
As more and more people get and recover from COVID-19 levels of immunity in the population go up and this helps slow the spread to vulnerable people.
Social distancing, isolation of sick and vulnerable people, quarantine of high risk exposures will not go away anytime soon. We will need to protect our elders and people with vulnerable immune systems for the foreseeable future. This will not go away. It is part of our world.
If we are lucky, this is just the beginning a long slow dance with this virus. Long enough and slow enough we can learn how to treat and save the most ill and prevent infection of the most vulnerable. The music for this dance has strains of fear and grief, but also courage, generosity, perseverance, comfort, humor and even joy. So do what health officials recommend, carefully, vigilantly. Let this virus be our teacher. Relax, stay calm, listen, learn. Shall we dance?