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Be Aggressive

Published on July 28, 2020

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This week, for the first time since March 17th—the day we went under quarantine for the coronavirus—I actually felt the fear of becoming a COVID-19 patient. I’m not saying that I haven’t feared the virus. I’ve taken it very seriously and made sure that I followed the social distancing guidelines and also wore a mask in public every time I left our property.

What I mean is that this week I had an actual moment where I thought to myself, “Shit, how are any of us really going to NEVER catch this thing?” It was a real fear and one that I still can’t shake.

One of the reasons I felt this fear is because I wrote an article on how bad things are getting in Cuenca. And the reasons behind it all. The health system there is near collapse and the reason is because people are getting lax in their efforts to get the virus under control.

The city reported that in some areas of town, 25% of the people on the streets are not wearing masks (or not wearing them properly) and as many as 30% are not social distancing (that number goes up to 60% at night).

And I could see this when I was in town this week (I had to go to get my car matricular renewed). After having read the above statistics in one of the local newspapers, I saw those numbers for real. I saw a LOT of people not wearing masks or actually using them to cover both their mouth AND nose. And so many people not social distancing at all. I don’t mean not enough; I mean not at all.

So, my fear became real this week. I wonder just how many of us are going catch this if it isn’t put under control. Of course, there will hopefully be a vaccine by early next year. But some studies are now saying that we may need multiple doses of it to have true immunity (like when taking the vaccine for hepatitis).

Now, when I think of that I think about all of the antivaxxers. And I think about the need to get multiple doses into the Ecuadorian population. I don’t bother to argue with the antivaxxers, because I know they are wrong (I’ve heard all the arguments, but my healthcare background tells me they are bullshit).

Put them aside because they are still a small enough percentage that they won’t stop a successful vaccine effort. Instead, think about how hard it will be to have a successful vaccine effort. Think about trying to get more than one dose of the vaccine into Ecuadorians.

What I suspect is that the rural population will probably take the vaccine because they are scared out here in the country. But then, if someone they know who got the first dose, later dies from it, they will run from any second (or third) doses. And no amount of education will convince them that that person did not die from the vaccine.

Simple as that, the vaccine effort can fail.

And what do we have to fall back on then? Social distancing and masks. And if we can’t get that under control now, how can we expect to get it under control later?

Wow, I’m a lot of good news today, huh?

I guess I’m writing this for more of a cautionary tale to remind everyone that social distancing, proper handwashing and masks really are our TRUE hope. Don’t count on the vaccine to stop this. Count on proper behavior and start to take an aggressive attitude about it.

Stop people who aren’t wearing a mask from getting next to you and tell them why. Don’t hide from it. Take control of it.

And tell people who are getting into your personal space (now 2 meters) to “Back off!”

It is your right to protect yourself. And to try to educate others who don’t get it. This virus is REAL. The virus IS killing people (in droves), and it will not “magically go away.”

This is going to be with us for a long time and the sooner we take an aggressive stance in protecting ourselves and in educating others, the sooner we can get rid of that fear that is sitting like a lump in the middle of our chests.

This isn’t a joke. This is a warning. Not taking it seriously is how we will all be sick on day.

I’m just sayin.’



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