From the editor: COVID-19 is more than just numbers

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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Dawn Burleigh, Editor

Numbers make situations make sense, except when the numbers are not accurate.

Two people in their 20s in another state were sent home from work one night. Why? Because one of them showed signs of COVID-19 and the other lives in the same apartment. 

However, they could not get tested to confirm if they had the virus or not because there is a shortage of test kits in that state.

They served their two weeks of quarantine and were free to return to work on Monday. However, they were never tested and while they had all the symptoms, they will not be counted in the 1,390,511 confirmed cases in the world as of Tuesday afternoon.

Another woman, in her early 50s, did test positive for the virus. She too lives in another state. In her area, there are many more cases than are currently in Texas at this time. Medical professionals are volunteering to work in that area of the country as it has been hit harder than other parts.

I mention her because I was told how her employer was demanding she show up for work while she is testing positive for COVID-19.

Makes me wonder if she will be counted as a positive. 

The president is telling us to stay home and practice social distancing to help flatten the curve, and her company is demanding she report to work? She works as a home health care provider and as I said before, not in this state.

Comparing the number of deaths from COVID-19 to the number of deaths annually from the flu is not comparing apples to apples or oranges to oranges.

The major difference is none of us are immune to COVID-19. We all have some immunity to the flu. If left unchecked, if we do not flatten the curve, the numbers of deaths related to COVID-19 would be much greater.

Technology, while annoying at times, is assisting to help spread the information needed to help prevent epidemic number of deaths as would happen in the past.

In September 17, 1897 edition of The Orange Leader, a proclamation was issued by the city of Orange making it ‘unlawful for any person or persons whomsoever to enter the city of Orange or stop within five miles of the city limits of said city, when such a person or persons shall  have left any of the above named or infested points within ten days next preceding their arrival at this place.’ 

Mayor B. C. Miller was trying to protect the city from yellow fever.

In past centuries (17th to 19th), yellow fever was transported to North America and Europe, causing large outbreaks that disrupted economies, development and in some cases decimated populations, according to World Health Organization.

But it is also not about the number of deaths, although I must admit, I do not want to be the one who gave it to grandma or grandpa. If we do not try to flatten the curve, the number of people infected would be much higher. Right now, we are trying to work remotely to prevent the spreading of the disease. If we carried on as if it was just a case a bad season of the flu, everyone would risk becoming ill. Not just one, or three or 25, but all of us could get sick. 

We can deal with the inconvenience now, or we can have major impacts on our community and the economy later.

I miss being able to use my favored brand of toilet paper, and honestly, who knew that was such a big deal until one has to use one-ply tree bark. I miss seeing my church family. I miss being able to run into the store on the way home for something we may have forgotten. 

I also wonder what part of Stay at Home means gather in a parking lot or go hang out with your friends and have a party. 

Together we will get through this and be stronger for it.


Dawn Burleigh is the general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at