In any battle, the time a specific weapon is used is often more important than the weapon itself. A simple weapon deployed at just the right time, can make a difference that the most sophisticated weaponry can’t overcome.
We are in a battle right now against COVID-19. A real battle against a killer virus that threatens to overwhelm our country’s, our county’s, our community’s ability to treat people.
Tragically, the Florida Governor and Lee County Commissioners are stuck on Pause and using a wait-and-see approach. Maybe they never learned that lesson about timing or maybe they’re just being politicians and trying to avoid upsetting the heartless, clueless minority of voters who still think this virus is a hoax or who believe that the economy and stock prices are more important to our country than its citizens are.
That Pause is going to cost lives, lots of lives before this battle is over. And it’s just beginning here in Florida. Governor DeSantis refuses to enact any stay-at-home order, using the rationale that there are some counties that don’t have any virus cases.
Excellent! Is he planning to wait until all 67 counties are overrun with the virus and then do it? By then it won’t matter. Timing is everything and this needs to happen now, not in a 3 days or a week.
Locally, Lee Health CEO Dr. Antonucci did a brilliant job of explaining the situation to the Lee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) this week, but most of them didn’t seem to understand what he was saying. He laid out the problem, clearly explained that the current level of social distancing was not enough, and then asked, practically begged, the BoCC to enact some sort of stay-at-home order now to get ahead of the killer curve.
They quibbled about whether small business owners might be hurt with such an order and whether the current virus numbers matched what Lee Health had predicted a week ago. Most amazing were the questions about whether the hospital would need some sort of auxiliary medical facility, while the head of that hospital was begging them to take action so that an auxiliary facility wouldn’t be necessary.
In the end, they did nothing. Nothing. Oh, there was talk about urging people to stay at home and practice social distancing. You know the same thing we’ve all heard for a while. Somehow the BoCC seems to think that wagging their finger and saying, “This time we really mean it!” will make that advice stick better than it has so far.
Here are a few numbers to ponder.
In Florida at noon on March 16, there were 155 COVID-19 cases. By 6pm March 18, that number had more than doubled to 328. By March 21, it had doubled again to 763. The number of those who have the virus in Florida continues to double about every 2.5 days and that pace is picking up. As of Thursday night at 6pm, there were 2,484 people in Florida battling the virus.
Exactly what is the magic number of positive cases or deaths before the state or county pulls the trigger on stay-at-home restrictions?
No one among us is indifferent to the economic blow COVID-19 is causing to small businesses. Those who think this is someone else’s problem and it won’t affect them are delusional. The least bit of research using reliable sources reveals that this is going everywhere. We can’t stop it, but we can slow it down or flatten the curve and save a lot of lives by doing so. Nobody wants to reach the point where the sick are triaged into who gets care and who doesn’t. That’s where we’re heading if we don’t flatten the curve.
Sure wish our governor and county commissioners were interested in doing that.
Luckily for us, our Town Council is. Fort Myers Beach has been ahead of the curve on this problem from the beginning. While not everyone is happy with the steps they’ve taken, they were willing to take steps to protect everyone in our community. Bravo!
Where’s My Paper?
As a small business, we know exactly what the COVID-19 restrictions are doing. Those restrictions resulted in over 90% of our advertisers closing or drastically reducing their business footprint, with advertising being cut as they try to stay alive. The Sand Paper has had to make changes also.
There will be no print copies of The Island Sand Paper until further notice. We say all the time that without advertisers, we couldn’t exist. And now, sadly, we are an example of how true that is. We will print the paper when we have enough advertisers to do so.
We do have a website at fortmyersbeach.news where readers can find all the news happening on FMB. We are still writing, interviewing and tracking down the important news our readers want to know, so check out the website.
We will strive to keep our small business alive because we want to be here to be a key part of the recovery of our Island economy, as we’ve been through two hurricanes, an oil spill and several bad water crises over the past 20 years.
We hope you’ll stick with us through this rough patch as we weather this storm together.
Missy & Bob Layfield