Let us do our part to fight COVID-19

March 24, 2020

As a retired physician and a public health official, I totally agree with Gov. John Carney’s stay-at-home order.  

Right now, the only way to keep the number of coronavirus cases down in Delawareans is social distancing.  Seeing the pictures of the young people on the beach and about town during the recent warm weather was disturbing.  The millennials and Gen Zs are not quite understanding the risk of this pandemic and probably will not until it affects someone close to them.

While it is a terrible hardship for individuals and businesses, the situation will be far worse if this virus is allowed to continue unchecked.  Yes, the economy is going to take a tumble and hit a rough patch, and yes, that will affect all of us, but a far worse scenario would be a similar path to the influenza pandemic of 1918 which caused the demise of 675,000 Americans.

Social distancing is not the “cure all” but it will slow the progression and flatten the curve, hopefully long enough for us to improve our healthcare system, develop vaccines or other therapies to treat this disease.

The vulnerable population in my county, Sussex County, is large, with majority of residents falling into one if not more of the high-risk categories.  I want to do everything I can to protect myself and my neighbors, and to that end I ask for a moratorium on construction.  From my window I watch the vans filled with workers arrive to work in confined spaces in homes under construction.

Yes, they are far enough from me, though their debris and garbage blows through the neighborhood, that I am not personally worried.  However, what happens when they return perhaps to a home with some “essential” worker: They risk continuing the spread of this infection.

Either test everyone and then allow negative people to return to work, school or other public gathering places, or “quarantine” everyone except the truly essential personnel and let us do our part to protect the citizens of Delaware.  

Delaware is notorious for not saying “NO” to developers or builders, but perhaps at this risk to their citizens it is the time to stand up and do so.

Sue Rattner, MD, MPH
Bethany Beach


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