As the number of people testing positive for coronavirus rises every day, the blunt reality is that we need to stay home and brace ourselves as we ride this out together.
Many of us, including me, know people who are very sick with coronavirus. In San Diego County, we have 417 sick, with 14 Encinitas cases, and six who have died countywide. In only four days last week, the number of positive cases in the county doubled.
Governor Newsom’s executive Stay at Home Order remains in force. He has also issued an executive order barring the enforcement of evictions for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31. More information from the state is here, and a very informative press release from the City of Encinitas about this and other important topics can be read here.
Encinitas business groups are soliciting donations for a grant program that will help merchants who are struggling during this pandemic. The Cardiff-By-the-Sea Foundation is partnering with all three Mainstreet organizations in this effort, and the Harbaugh Foundation will match all donations made up to $30,000 to help establish the Encinitas Small Business Support Fund. Here’s the story from the North Coast Current.
Hope and opportunity
But even as we face this and the tremendous economic displacement that has already begun, there will be a tomorrow.
Last Thursday night I was called into City Hall to sign the city’s emergency declaration. Our hard-working city staff has been burning the candle at both ends to make sure we’re providing every service to our residents. I thank them for their extraordinary efforts in this crisis and making sure all the legalities and documentation are completed accurately and on time. Collectively, we’re rolling up our sleeves to meet our current challenges.
Many have described the current pandemic as a war, and in many important respects, it is. But it’s unlike a military war because we know that this is a time-limited crisis, not an armed conflict that could go on indefinitely. Also, it’s worth noting that all humans are united in fighting this battle against coronavirus – we’re not being pitted against each other and experiencing the anguish that brings.
My husband Jeremy is a Physician Assistant (PA), and he’ll be working at one of North County Health Service’s drive-through COVID-19 clinics in Oceanside next week, where he’ll be evaluating and testing at-risk people with coronavirus symptoms. If you are elderly or have underlying medical problems and develop symptoms such as cough, fever, or muscle aches, call your doctor or 211 for advice. Go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately if you become short of breath, disoriented/confused, or are so weak that you have difficultly standing.
We’re all invested in ending this scourge as quickly as possible. The main thing to remember right now is this: you can avoid getting or giving COVID-19 with the choices you make.
Simply put, go out as little as possible. Nearly every credible leader says the same thing – restrict your own personal movements outside the home as much as possible. Get some exercise, walk the dog, make sure you have groceries and medicines, but otherwise stay home. Some don’t like to hear that, but the simple reality is that every trip you make into public places, whether to get gas or visit your friend’s home, puts you or others at risk.
The better job of isolating we do now, the sooner we’ll be out of this.
Bill Clinton joined 140 mayors and me late last week for a webinar about messaging in the middle of a crisis from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Bloomberg/Harvard Philanthropies. It was very inspiring, and we picked up many tips about how to better communicate with the people of our respective cities during emergencies.
As many of us wait for the other shoe to drop, it’s important to lean heavily into the routines, relationships and personal connections that form the backbone of a meaningful life. The relationships we share over the phone and through apps like Skype, Zoom and FaceTime are almost as good as being together in person.
There are so many ways to creatively stay connected. In Olivenhain, Rob LaBreche and his family have led their neighborhood in a new tradition of ringing bells outdoors each evening at 7 p.m. to greet each other and spread hope while staying at home. Here’s the story from CBS 8.
If there ever was a time to celebrate our circle of family and friends, this is it. Many who lived through the Great Depression in the 1930s later reported high levels of personal happiness during that economically disastrous time. The purported reason is that they spent the most time with those who mattered most, even while facing severe financial hardships.
In core ways, this absolutely makes sense. If you are anything like me, you’re spending a lot more time with the loved ones you live with. I’m having not just dinner, but lunch, with my kids every day. My fifth grader and I spend 20 minutes each day silent reading together. He’s reading Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss, the great illustrated classics version, and I’m reading American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham. With my daughter, we’re doing a daily strength-building workout routine.
The kids are now joining me in watching The Crown on Netflix, about Queen Elizabeth II and the history of Britain that her reign has witnessed. Yesterday’s episode led my daughter to ask if “boys” in Scotland still wear skirts. These are precious moments.
Right now, there’s a pot of beef stew in the slow cooker and this banana bread ready to be devoured.
We know that the recovery will be a long process for businesses, individuals and cities. Here’s my philosophy – I recognize that there was a yesterday, and there will be a tomorrow. But right now, there’s a today. And there are many things to cherish about today.
I’ll end with another mayor’s mantra for his city as it’s good advice, “By staying apart, we will stick together.”
P.S. In the midst of all of this stress, please don’t forget to fill out your census form. Every ten years, we count the people in the United States, and the results are crucial in determining our future direction, including funding, governmental representation and much more. It’s important to list every person in your household as of April 1, 2020.
P.P.S. I thought you might be amused by this picture below. It’s an Italian newspaper’s 1962 vision of how we will be moving around in the city of the future. These little mini-cars would come in handy during this era of social distancing.
- The current number of cases in San Diego County and their locations can be found online at the County Department of Health. The info is updated Monday through Friday by 4 pm. The current number is 417 positive cases in our county, with 14 of those being from Encinitas.
- The San Diego Union-Tribune: Live coronavirus updates in San Diego
- City of Encinitas: COVID-19 Updates
- San Diego County’s Coronavirus website (A very useful one-stop font of practical local information.)
- State of California: California Coronavirus Response
- Johns Hopkins University & Medicine: Coronavirus Resource Center (Includes frequently updated worldwide maps and statistics.)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
- My previous Encinitas coronavirus newsletters