Flatten the curve 3.19

NPR graphic

There’s a lot that is happening in the world today.

And I feel really funny trying to write about the state of sports considering the current state of our community and the world.

The NCAA has canceled all remaining championship competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping our country. That’s not all that’s happened.

The NBA, NHL, and MLB have suspended their seasons to encourage social distancing in hopes of flattening the curve.

Colleges and universities are having students continue classes online and public schools across the state have mandated closures to keep the exposure to a minimum.

And I’m sure there are more to come.

It’s a lot to process.

A lot of big things in the lives of students and people across the country will impact them for potentially, the rest of their lives.

It’s a frightening time. A time that a sporting event may help band people together - because that’s what sports do.

It unites us. But not right now.

And it really stinks.

Looking at the bigger picture, it’s a necessary evil in order to regain some control over a virus that is incredibly uncontrolled. Maybe we are looking at this from the wrong perspective, though.

I’ve tossed this idea around for a while and gone through the stages of not understanding to frustration to the thought of maybe someone is overreacting and here is where I’ve landed.

I support the mandated social distancing - and here’s why.

Italy is in total lock-down. Sources say that the Italians are only about a week ahead of the US as far as contamination rate goes.

Nobody is on the streets. Everyone is quarantined to their homes.

Could you imagine Gothenburg - or our country - completely shut down?

That reality goes far beyond some events being canceled.

It really hits home when you think about the number of people in town who are business owners that will, undoubtedly be impacted if we, as a country, get to that point.

If we take heed to the messages that are right in front of us, there’s a strong possibility that we may be able to get in front of this and flatten the curve.

Flattening the curve. That’s a phrase that’s been tossed around a lot lately as well.

That’s a fancy way of saying that the social distancing and utilization of protective measures is going to help slow the rate of exposed individuals and not overwhelm our healthcare system.

The graphic shows what the rate of infection could be without taking measures to limit exposure alongside a what the rate of exposure may look like if we take protective measures.

When I saw it for the first time, it made a lot of sense to me..

And it helped me understand how important it is to make sure that we are all doing our part.

I pray that this is the answer that we need in order to regain some sense of normalcy in our lives.

Because life isn’t normal at all right now.

Now I realize it’s not any fun to be told that you can’t do what you want to do. The sporting events, the conventions, the gatherings that allow us to be the social town we are.

But the flip side of this means that we could potentially encourage the spread of something that could be tremendously harmful to everyone - especially those who have underlying issues or are over 80.

I know there’s some special people in my life that fit those two criteria.

Here’s where my heart is, guys.

All the actions taken by officials are a necessary evil in order to make sure that our way of life is preserved.

That does not mean that I’m not cognizant of the losses people will incur due to these decisions. Seniors may not get an opportunity to compete or participate one last time in their high school careers. Parents are going to be looking for a place for their kids to land while they are at work. Some parents may not have a job while school is closed.

But in the midst of all that uncertainty, here is what I am certain of.

Our community officials are working diligently to help ease the anxiety of this situation. They don’t have all the answers, but they are working on solutions.

Sports have taught me a lot of life lessons, and one of those lessons is that we are stronger together. When your teammate is weak, you lean in and stay strong.

Now, I’m not encouraging you lean in or on anyone right now, because that flies directly in the face of the suggested six feet rule and social distancing.

Figuratively speaking, here is what we can do to help our teammates.

We remain vigilant.

We wash our hands.

We stay home if we aren’t feeling well.

We share our toilet paper (seriously, though).

We ask our neighbors if they need anything from the store because they’re too scared to leave their homes.

We take the extra step to be kind to one another.

We make a donation to make sure people can eat.

And we remember that we are a small and mighty community who will band together and get this.

Together.

Contact Rebecca Steward at rebecca@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.536.6499