As we sit in our backyards and enjoy the spring weather, there’s a storm ahead — the great thing is, we’re prepared for it.

Early on our local government and healthcare leaders enacted measures to slow down the coronavirus spread, and it looks like it’s working.

But it’s important to note that it could have been different. We could easily be Albany, which has had nearly 100 deaths so far.

So we got lucky this time, but it isn’t over yet.

The curve has started to slightly flatten locally, Dr. Gary Voccio, director of the Department of Public Health Northwest Georgia District, said this week. But based on the current statistical model, the area is approaching a peak in the next two weeks.

Let’s look at a worst case scenario in our own country and instead of pointing fingers or giving out a “Bless their (collective) hearts,” let’s learn from it.

One of the reasons COVID-19 has slammed New York has to do with population density, and we feel like this not only underlines the importance of social distancing but also puts it in bold type, ALL CAPS and italicizes it.

The same thing that brings people from all over the world to that metropolitan area is also the thing that has killed over 10,000 people there.

There’s so many people in a small space, Redmond Regional Medical Center CEO John Quinlivan said recently, it’s likely the reason the disease is hitting Atlanta so hard as well.

Up to this point, approximately 41% of the deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. have occurred in New York and 94% of those happened in New York City.

The population in the city is approximately 200 times as dense as the rest of the country and much of it is dependent on public transportation. You might be able to tune out people on a subway, but you’re not physically distant.

Albany doesn’t have that many people per capita. Dougherty County is similar to Floyd County in size, while Albany is bigger than Rome. But it’s pretty similar and Dougherty County has over 10 times the number of COVID-19 cases that we do.

So the point is — that could have happened here and it could happen here.

You can attribute that statement to fearmongering, but actively fighting against something isn’t a sign of fear. It’s a statement to do something about a problem. We’re not advocating for you to hide and stockpile toilet paper. We’re advocating for you to continue doing something that’s uncomfortable and a little inconvenient for a while longer for a very good reason.

We’re advocating that you save lives.

There are those who are tired; we’re tired. But we have to keep on doing what we’re doing. Yes this hurts our pockets and so many people have lost their jobs.

But you can get another job, and for some, those old jobs will be coming back once this is over.

You can’t ever bring back lives lost, and these measures are to keep as many people from losing their lives.

So let’s look past the short term to the long term.

Our economy will survive this; it might hurt but we’ll recover. We’re going to be able to get together again, we’re going to be able to go out and have fun again.

Thank you for reading and supporting local journalism.

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