In the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are all in this together.
The coronavirus does not care about your skin color, gender, religion, income, or political beliefs. If you are human, you are at risk of becoming infected.
Our health professionals and scientists are working around the clock to learn more about this virus in order to fight it.
How Serious Is The Coronavirus?
We must take the coronavirus seriously. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has told the U.S. Congress that the coronavirus is at least 10 times “more lethal” than the seasonal flu.
However, he also said the flu’s mortality rate is one tenth of one percent. That would mean at least a one percent mortality rate for the coronavirus. The mortality rate is higher for older adults and people with existing health issues.
Are Closures And Cancellations Actually Necessary?
Some people are wondering if all the closures and cancellations going in our country right now are actually necessary. In the briefings I have received from public health officials, it is clear that strong action and significant sacrifices must be taken now in order to slow the spread of the virus to save lives.
Consider the chart below which you may have seen in the news. The idea is to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic. By cancelling events that have large groups of people in one place, we increase “social distancing” in order to slow the spread of the virus. This means we will have a slower increase in the number of people getting sick all at once. If there was a huge spike in the number of people who got sick and sought emergency treatment, our health care system would be overwhelmed and there would not be enough medical professionals and resources to treat everyone at once.
That is why counties throughout the state – including San Diego and Orange – have prohibited public and private gatherings until at least the end of March. These emergency regulations do not include families that live together. Residents can still go out to conduct essential activities such as going to health care providers, grocery stores, banks, and gas stations.
To read San Diego County’s amended announcement, click here. For Orange County’s amended announcement, click here. Please read the announcement for your county very carefully as it contains important information.
By taking these difficult actions now, we help preserve our health care system capacity – and save lives.
What Is the State of California Doing To Help Residents?
I am in daily contact with state and local officials to ensure California has the resources it needs to fight this pandemic. We are working to ensure other essential state services continue to function.
In the spirit of unity against the coronavirus, legislative Democrats and Republicans worked together to pass two bipartisan measures on March 16th.
The first measure will ensure our public schools continue to receive funding for a full school year, regardless of closures due to coronavirus.
The other measure will provide up to $1 billion that the California Department of Finance advises will be used for:
- Leasing and activating two hospitals;
- Acquiring hospital and public health equipment;
- Assisting hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities;
- Cleaning of child care facilities so they remain open;
- Supporting local governments to reduce the spread of coronavirus in the homeless population; and
- Providing hotel beds for people experiencing homelessness.
This emergency aid will help ensure our state has the resources it needs to address the coronavirus pandemic in the near term. The Legislature will consider additional actions as necessary.
Will There Be Enough Groceries To Buy?
My office is in contact with the California Grocers Association and we have been assured that there are enough groceries in the supply chain. Stores are working hard to restock as quickly as possible, with many restocking multiple times each day. Please buy only what you need.
What Can I Do To Help?
California needs you in the fight against the coronavirus. Besides heeding guidance from public health officials, you can donate blood as there is an urgent need. Visit www.redcrossblood.org to find a blood bank near you.
You can also deliver meals to vulnerable seniors and/or donate to a food bank. More suggestions can be found at the California Volunteers website at www.serve.ca.gov.
What Does The Future Hold?
These are unprecedented and uncertain times. However, our nation has survived many challenges, including two world wars, the September 11th terrorist attacks, many diseases, and other disruptions to everyday life.
While there will be more challenging days ahead, our state, our nation, and our world will ultimately get the upper hand on the coronavirus. The sooner we can get that upper hand, normal life as we know it will return.
Given the rapidly evolving situation in the fight against the coronavirus, it is important to stay informed. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov and the California Department of Public Health at www.cdph.ca.gov. My Senate website also has links to helpful resources at www.senate.ca.gov/bates.
If you have questions about government services in regard to the coronavirus, please feel free to contact my office. My staff and I will do our best to help. Full contact information can be found at www.senate.ca.gov/bates. If you believe you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
We are all in this together. Take care and stay safe.
PATRICIA C. BATES
Senator, 36th District