We find ourselves in humbling times. These times are unlike anything we’ve seen in over a century. I find it admirable that those who choose to “self-quarantine” or “shelter in place” or practice “extreme social distancing” are doing so now. Many of which are blessed or uniquely skilled, with situations that allow them to practice such measures (my wife and I included.) We are thankful that our employers are being proactive, allowing for the flexibility. Soon, we believe it will be “mandatory” in a sense, to practice some sort of familial isolation, as fines for gathering are doled out.
Some are not practicing or more importantly can’t. Here in Austin, TX our daycare is still open for example. They follow our school district’s rules when it comes to closures but get their orders from the health department. With the school district on Spring Break, our day care’s policy is to stay open. We imagine that they will close any day now but by us choosing to keep our son home and exercise work from home measures, it allows those parents – who must work and who must put their kiddos in daycare so that they can work – the extra few days of pay they otherwise might have had to forgo. We’ll also continue to happily pay our tuition for the same reason, to support our teachers and local business.
We can’t argue with the data, this virus is infecting the population by 2x every 3 days. Take the cases in your community and multiply it by 1024 and that’s how many cases will be in your community in mid-April. Of those cases, somewhere between 5% and 15% will require a hospital visit and we just don’t have the beds or the equipment to handle the surge. Not to mention the folks who need to be in the hospital and use the equipment due to car wrecks, pregnancies, and other non-COVID19 related health emergencies.
The story unfolding in communities across the country is more than patriotic; it shows the true character of the human condition. Stores reserving the first hours for seniors – the most at risk – to restock their shelves; curb side and delivery waiving their fees; airlines and hotels allowing for families and business to reschedule events without imposing cancelation/change fees; these are all important steps to do right by the customer but they are also protecting the general population by allowing for individuals to choose to do their part.
It wasn’t easy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day virtually but I was moved by the Irish-punk band, Dropkick Murphy deciding to host a free, livestream concert and I was excited for the outpouring of support by media all across the country. My wife and I unwound with Guinness while watching “Shipping up to Boston” live after a day full of crafts with our son, conference calls, a dog walk, and answering emails.
We’re not out of the woods yet – far from it. We must support our restaurateurs, local brewers, delis, and the small businesses we may have taken for granted by any means necessary – through take-out, to go sales, employee fundraising drives, and gift card purchases. This past St. Patrick’s Day will certainly be one to remembered and I choose to remember it as a time we came together as global community to protect our greatest generations – all of them – from pestilence.
Texas State President and Southwest Liaison, AOH
2019 IrishEcho 40 Under 40 Alumni