Having gone to visit a good friend at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines upon the delivery of her baby, I fully expected to see another friend of ours there, fighting over baby holding rights good-naturedly, of course. When I asked where this person was, I was told she was at home—on quarantine with swine flu she contracted while on vacation in Mexico.
She was given the needed medication and told to stay home, but her husband, who obviously is in close contact with her, was denied any medication. In the UK, the practice of giving the drugs to those in close contact is being done to help contain the virus. An affected individual is contagious for twenty-four hours before symptoms set in and for seven days after the onset of symptoms. Can you imagine how quickly this virus could spread in a town of this— size-population roughly 530, in this individual’s first few days home?
Let’s look at her first day home—most likely anyway. Maybe she got up and went to the grocery store after her trip so she could re-stock the fridge. The store is the hub of the community—we find out a lot about what has been going on in town here! As she shopped she ran into friends, neighbors, babysitters, parents, and relayed details of her vacation. She finishes her shopping and heads next door to the ONLY gas station in town to fill up her gas tank and sees more people, touches more objects that the virus can live on for hours.
Next, she heads “uptown” to our coffee shop and five and dime. Here she has time and opportunity to really stop, visit, and communicate the details of her southern sojourn—and disseminate the virus to even more people of the town.
Maybe there was a ball game that night—a big social event in the summertime since the school and its activities are the social hub for small town communities. Who she didn’t see during the day, she most likely saw here. Teachers, coaches, kids, more parents, etc…
This could all be in the first twenty-four hours.
Maybe it is Sunday, and she went to church—a church filled with worshippers who would then go out into the community and attend ballgames, go to community meetings, etc…
Maybe she stopped by the community pool for a swim. Here she saw even more people as she visited at the concession stand with people about her vacation.
How long would it take? A week? A month? Thankfully, it is summer, but by the time school starts, what then?
Are we doing all we can? In some areas of the country, and the world, cases are doubling by the week. One has to wonder what will happen when the leaves turn, the weather cools, and the virus can attack more effectively due to our close proximity to each other.