A way to think of this moment

By Valli Geiger | Mar 18, 2020

Dear good people of Rockland and the Midcoast,

Where do we begin as this virus heads our way? First the facts as we know them:

Over 203,529 cases world wide confirmed, a 12% increase in the last 36 hours, with many, many countries unable to test and report.

Eight thousand, two hundred and five deaths worldwide confirmed; a 13% increase in the last 36 hours, which may provide us better information about spread. If the fatality rate is between .9% to 3.4% then actual cases are more in the range of 738,000 to 2,789,700 worldwide.

In the U.S., testing is still very limited, with current testing slowly ramping up. Despite that, we saw a 52% increase in cases in the last 36 hours, from 4,287 to 6,496. All the deaths so far in the U.S. have involved people in their 50s or older. Young people seem to have mild-to-asymptomatic cases, which unfortunately appear to still be transmissible. So the young are seeing the economy crash to protect us, the older generation. Something to chew on….

The Johns Hopkins website that is tracking the numbers can be found here.

Here at home, Maine had 17 cases two days ago and 32 cases yesterday, Tuesday, March 17, an almost 50% increase. The CDC website is updated once daily at noon and can be found here.

Knox County had its first case confirmed, a man in his 30s who had traveled in the U.S. over the last few weeks. No sign of community transmission (spreading from person to person) yet. The city of Rockland has declared an emergency. This is good for five days and is declared by the city manager in consultation with the mayor. It must be renewed by city council. It will allow the mayor and city manager to force closings, shutdowns, and open quarantine shelters, if needed.

It is important to understand, that this is a new virus, none of us have immunity to it. We are not shutting down and self- distancing to avoid getting it, but rather to slow down the rate of transmission so that the medical system does not collapse under the weight. Roughly 20% of those over 60 years will have a severe case, with many needing ICU-level care and some needing ventilators. Hospital systems in the U.S. have limited surge capacity and will be quickly overwhelmed if too many cases occur at once in a community. Unfortunately, even as more test kits come on board there is an apparent shortage of swabs, gloves, reagent chemicals, personal protective equipment and ventilators.

So it is imperative that those of us over 65 limit contact with the outside world right now. That has severe effects on our local businesses, restaurants, big box stores, coffee shops, etc.

So what can we do?

If you are able, order take out from your favorite downtown restaurants and bakeries.

If you are able, give to AIO directly or give to the Good Shepard Food Bank where AIO gets their supplies. The form is here.

The city council will be meeting and reporting out on what we know, what the needs are and what is needed. Don’t hesitate to email any of us with your concerns, thoughts and ideas. Think about checking in with each other, let's do a buddy system so we can check on those who live alone.

The RSU13 school system is continuing to provide lunches for kids needing it via pick up. Tom Lutrell is in touch with Superintendent John McDonald about any additional needs, like delivering meals for those without transportation.

More information as I know it. I invite Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center or Mayor Lisa Westkeamper to chime in here with any additional information and thoughts. We are in a new era. Let's keep in touch, look after each other and do what we can for a community that is going to experience vast suffering.

Valli Geiger is a member of the Rockland City Council


Comments (2)
Posted by: Ed Glaser | Mar 19, 2020 09:29

Please consider checking out this curated list of Covid-19 resources for Rockland and Maine. It is changing on a daily basis and there may be some inaccuracies, but it is a good basic guide. And don't forget to check in on your friends and neighbors regularly. 

Posted by: Jane Karker | Mar 19, 2020 06:22

Thanks Valli for your leadership. Well written and very helpful information and links.

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