Whitesburg KY

Stay home, Letcher County, help save lives

A graph shown during one of President Trump’s recent coronavirus updates showed that with no intervention (if we continued to do exactly what we want to do), the national deaths will be between 1.5 million to 2.2 million. However, if everyone stays home, uses social distancing, washes hands, etc., then the national death curve will flatten to between 100,000 to 240,000.

It is hard to comprehend how many deaths 2.2 million really is. Suppose people started dying at the rate of one person per second: 1 death … 2 deaths … 3 deaths … 4 deaths, and so on. How long do you think that it would take to reach the two-million and two-hundred-thousandth death? Two days? Three days? The answer is: it would take about 25-1/2 days. By contrast, if a person died each second it would take only 28 hours to reach 100,000 death, which is the lower estimate with intervention. That shows what a significant difference intervention can make. So, please, please stay home, use social distancing, scrub your hands frequently, disinfect items before bringing them into your house, and take other actions to help flatten that curve.

A graph showing the estimated coronavirus deaths in Kentucky was shown during one of Governor Beshear’s coronavirus updates last week. The graph was based on the ratio of the population of Kentucky to the population of the United States. This graph showed that with no intervention, the deaths in Kentucky would be between 21,000 and 29,500. If everyone obeyed the intervention rules, then the deaths in Kentucky would be greatly reduced to between 1,300 and 3,200.

The above data for Kentucky was based on the uniform distribution of deaths throughout the United States. However, national statistics show that the health of Kentuckians is not as good as the citizens of most other states. Kentuckians have a higher rate of diabetes, lung cancer, black lung, COPD, heart problems, and other health issues. Because the death rate is higher for people with underlying health issues, the death rate in Kentucky will be higher than the above numbers for Kentucky.

A later graph showing the estimated coronavirus deaths in Kentucky, taking these underlying health issues into account, was shown during Governor Beshear’s update on April 3. This latest graph showed that with little or no preventative measures taken, the deaths in Kentucky would be about 47,000 (no interval was given). The deaths in Kentucky for staying-at-home but with poor compliance (leaving home more than necessary, going into crowded stores and lingering there, etc.) would be about 13,000. If everyone in Kentucky strictly follows the recommended interventions, the deaths in Kentucky will drastically drop to about 2,000.

If the deaths are uniformly distributed across Kentucky, then the number of deaths in Letcher County will be about 233 with little or no preventative measures taken and about 65 if people stay-at-home but have poor compliance. The number of Letcher County deaths drops drastically to about 10 with strict compliance.

However, records show that the health of eastern Kentuckians is not as good as the rest of the state. Therefore, the number of deaths of Letcher Countians will be higher than the above numbers. If our deaths are 10 percent higher, then the deaths will be about 256, 72, and 11, respectively.

So, please don’t be that self-centered person who does what he/she wants to do and who shows no concern as to how his/her action affects other people. It is possible that you have COVID-19 and are spreading the coronavirus although you don’t have any symptoms. So, pretend that you are infected and act accordingly. Don’t become an unintentional “accessory to murder” by infecting others through your willful lack of intervention. Some of those you infect may not survive.

Be a good citizen. Protect yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and everyone by practicing the recommended safety precautions of frequently scrubbing hands and surfaces, staying at home, not allowing visitors, leaving home only when it is absolutely necessary and when you do leave home, wear a cloth mask, avoid crowds, get in and out of a store as quickly as possible, use curbside service, and so on.

The coronavirus is spread by people and will eventually be everywhere. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be asked to list all of the places where you went and to list all of the people with whom you were in contact during the previous 14 days. If you are tested positive, will you be embarrassed by the length of the list of the places you had been? Will you feel guilty with the list of names of the people you may have contaminated?

Or will you be proud of your list because you did the right thing and stayed home?

Anthony Blair, of Jeremiah, is a retired school teacher.

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