On Saturday, I visited Revere Beach in our Mobile City Hall.
I wasn’t there to enjoy the sunshine and the sights. Using a bullhorn, I came to deliver a crucial message to the crowds of people who congregated along the seawall and gathered under the gazebos and played games in the sand: Separate. Stop the close, personal interaction. If at all possible, please stay home.
That’s an unusual message for a Mayor to shout to people enjoying our beach. But these are unusual times. In fact, these are dangerous times. I would stand atop City Hall and shout the same message to everyone in our community. Please stay home.
The Covid-19 virus that has invaded Revere, our Commonwealth, our country and our world threatens everyone in a manner that strains our ability to comprehend. But it is real.
Right now, there is no easy cure and no treatment. But every one of us can do a few simple things to slow the disease’s spread and save lives. We can wash our hands and keep social distance. That certainly helps.
Still, there is only one sure way to stop the spread: Please stay home.
All of us have heard continuously from medical experts that this disease is so dangerous because any of us can be carrying it before we experience symptoms. During the time before we experience symptoms, we can convey the virus to the every person with whom we come in contact. Subsequently, they can convey it to every person with whom they come in contact, and those people then can convey it, and on and on…you get the picture.
Only by self-quarantine, by essentially eliminating our personal contact with the public, can we break the chain of virus transmission.
Is it fun? No. Is it inconvenient? Yes. Does it come with some personal sacrifice? Absolutely.
But it will save lives. I cannot emphasize that enough: It will save lives.
The virus has hit Revere especially hard. The numbers continue to rise every day, well over 100 and climbing. So does the death toll, which stands at five as I write this. Sadly, both numbers likely will be higher by the time you read this.
While the virus is a known threat, an even greater threat is the treacherous attitude that ‘all is well.’ Although most people are abiding the warnings passed on by federal, state, and local officials, a small number among us are not taking the warnings seriously. And so we end up with the situation we saw at Revere Beach and elsewhere: people outdoors mingling, playing games that involve close contact such as basketball, soccer, and volleyball. In the current circumstances, these activities can produce deadly results.
Every one of us is threatened when any one of us ignores the warnings. Elucd, a government statistical tracking company, reports that three per cent of Americans are “not worried” or “not worried at all” about harm to a loved one from Covid-19. I am afraid they are wrong. Their behavior threatens the 97 per cent of people who are rightly concerned about the virus effects.
Elucd also reports that 14 per cent of Americans are still doing little to nothing to help slow the spread of the virus. That attitude, that cavalier behavior, threatens you and your family.
Thousands of essential workers are risking their own safety and health to help us through this ordeal. Medical workers, first responders, food supply personnel, volunteers assisting those in need have no choice but to be out. Literally, they are coming face-to-face with a virus that terrorizes a population.
If you ignore basic warnings, if you are unwilling to make some small sacrifice to your personal pleasure, you endanger and insult your courageous neighbors who are exhausting themselves to curtail this menace.
I’ve seen a sign that sums up quite succinctly a point we should take to heart: “You are not stuck at home; you are safe at home.” If the words of this newspaper page can be shouted loud and wide, my message follows that statement: Please stay home.
If you can be at home, that’s exactly where you must be. The sooner we all adhere to that message, the sooner we can return to our beach and our playgrounds, to our favorite restaurants and our places of worship. Staying home now will make sooner the day that we can gather with our friends, and return to a lifestyle that we will never again take for granted.
Brian Arrigo is the Mayor of the City of Revere