We are all still processing and dealing with the situation seven days into Gov. Newsom’s shelter in place order for California as uncertainty and disbelief continue to set in for residents across the state.

Numbers continue to rise as more testing is being done. People have begun to ponder just how long this will last? How will I pay bills if this continues? How bad is this really going to get?

Many of us had a very different vision for our lives heading into spring. We would all rather be asking very different questions right now. Everyone is wondering when relief will come.

What remains certain is that the best way to protect yourself is by staying at home as much as possible.

The goal of the shelter in place policy is not to stop the virus from arriving. That ship has already sailed literally and figuratively.

The truth of the matter is the virus is already here and spreading. The number of infected (2,102 in the state as of March 23) may not look like a worrisome statistic at face value, but if the rate of infection does not slow down, it may be a more alarming number in the days and weeks to come.

The virus is spread mainly from person-to-person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that common ways for the virus to spread is between two people in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also possible that touching a surface or object that has the virus, then touching your face can also be a method of spreading. The CDC states that people are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest from the virus, but also stated a carrier can possibly spread the virus before showing symptoms, although it is not the main way this virus spreads.

The bottom line is the CDC states the coronavirus can spread easily. We all must come to terms with this.

The fact is it will not go away on its own. It is up to each one of us to respect what this virus can do and do everything in our power to help diminish the impact COVID-19 will have on us and our community.

Stay home as much as possible, but especially stay home if you are sick or feel any symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath). These symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure. Call your doctor and seek professional advice on how to proceed if you experience any of these symptoms.  

About 95 percent of patients exposed to the virus have reported mild conditions, with five percent being categorized as serious or critical around the world, but don't use the possibility of being in the mild conditions club to relinquish the responsibility of preventing this from spreading. It is about protecting those who are vulnerable. It is about protecting our community.

The goal of staying home is simply to help contain the spread of the virus. It is to help curb the influx of potential patients from overwhelming the medical system that is tasked with dealing with the pandemic.

This situation will eventually end, but until then, taking proper precautions for yourself and the community we live in is the only way to go. We are all in this situation together.

Practice habits such as social distancing and washing your hands as frequently as possible. This is currently the best way to fight this pandemic.

At some point, we all need to go out to take care of essential activities. When going out, practice limiting contact between you and others as much as possible. Touch as little surfaces as possible. Use hand sanitizer if you have it. Make washing your hands the first priority when getting home. Disinfect frequently used surfaces at home and in the workplace.

Many remain hopeful that this current state of affairs will only last a few weeks, some speculate as many as months until our lives can return to a semblance of normalcy.

Regardless of what the scaling and timeline for this pandemic will eventually be, it will end sooner rather than later if we all begin to adopt this new lifestyle.

Nobody is thrilled about these new restrictions. Nobody is happy about not having physical contact with friends and family members, not going out to the bar or club, not being able to dine at restaurants, not going to the movies, being unable to watch a favorite sport, worrying about job security or our mortality, but this is the only way to help prevent this pandemic from becoming worse.

This is the way we fight this.

If this all blows over expediently, it will be because of adopting these new habits, not despite them, that we all helped stifle the spread of COVID-19.

Now is not the time to panic, but it is time to take this as seriously as possible.

PI sports writer

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