Day 21 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

Sunday, April 5, 2020 – Live to Blog from the End of Week 3

Yep, that’s right! Today marks the end of the 3rd week of hiding out from COVID-19. I really don’t like the idea of hiding out. I’m considered high risk for contracting and potentially dying from COVID-19 because of my age and underlying health conditions.

Unfortunately, it looks like my risk level is not a matter of opinion but data. According to the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (February 12 to March 16) from CDC (which has to have the WORST name in modern linguistics), among those COVID-19 patients whose age is known:

  • 31% of all cases are to people over 65 year old
  • 45% of those hospitalized are over age 65.
  • 53% of those in intensive care units are at least age 65.
  • 80% of COVID-19 deaths are to people over age 65.

Did you notice has how those percentages kept rising with each level of intensity? Ouch! This data is not very comforting to me as I race toward my 66th birthday in a few weeks. Oh no…I feel a non sequitur coming on…

Hey, I can still do it! Thanks, Captain Ernie!
Captain Ernie!

Speaking of the number 66…as a kid I watched Captain Ernie’s Cartoon Showboat after school. Captain Ernie was my favorite cartoon host on WOC-TV 6 in Davenport, Iowa (which is now KWQC). One of things he did was draw faces from numbers submitted to him by his young viewers. I loved watching him do those drawings and I thought he was incredibly clever! I tried it on my own. It turns out my favorite number to use for faces (probably because it was the easiest to me) was 66. I learned recently that Captian Ernie died at the age of 86 in Florida. He real name was Earnest Christopher Memos and he was orginally from New Hampshire. When he wasn’t Captain Ernie on the Good Ship Dixie Belle, he was also the station’s weather reporter. RIP, Captain!

Back to Reality: Wait a minute, let’s reframe this. It isn’t hiding out from COVID-19…it is participating in the solution to it. To shelter-in-place is to be part of the solution when we are not considered essential workers. Staying home is how we do our part to flatten the curve of COVID-19. By staying home we also reduce the risk for essential workers.

I work from home and I can do so remotely. I’m lucky. I don’t have to go out except for necessities. In fact, I have not been out, except to walk the dogs, for over 8 days now. I won’t be going out again until we need to pick up necessities from the grocery store…or until one of the Girls really needs to do her doody. Even then, I’m not seeing any people on those doggy comfort walks.

The point is…we can live with this. We have, at least, another 3.5 weeks (25 days) here in Maryland. It is a pain but this is what it means to be a community and a country. Sometimes we have to do the things we don’t like, and are not convenient, for the greater good of all.

What we know about dealing with COVID-19 is that physical distancing (and not just 6 feet but up to 27 feet) reduces the risk of infections. So does washing hands, using hand sanitizer when we can’t wash our hands, avoiding touching our face and eyes, and couging/sneezing into our arm instead of letting it fly. We also know that wearing masks – especially if everyone wears them – can help. And, we know that sheltering-in-place, when we have a shelter to go to, helps. Let’s just do it!

My friend Sharon Miller is the Public Health Administrator for Madison County, Iowa. (You know, the place made famous by the book and film, The Bridges of Madison County?) On Twitter yesterday she posted a graphic she had found on Facebook. The graphic, posted here, asks an important question:

Who do I want to be during COVID-19?

Hiding out from COVID-19 isn’t helpful. Understanding why we need to shelter-in-place. Doing it. Then doing everything we can help others from our safe zone – including those who must leave their shelter for our sake or don’t have any shelter at all – makes us part of the solution.

So, who do I want to be during COVID-19? Who do YOU want to be? It’s a fair question. I suggest we both be part of the solution.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands and keep choosing to be part of the solution.


Author: Tom Klaus

My name is Tom Klaus and I am the founder and president of Tenacious Change. I am convinced the secret to almost any good thing happening among people is relational trust. Want to be loved by your spouse, children, and family? Want to work well with others? Want to be an effective leader? Want to help your neighborhood, community, state, or country change for the good? Want world peace...actually, peace with anyone? Building relational trust is when fear, animosity, conflict, and the status quo begins to transform into cooperation, respect, collaboration, peace, and working together for social change and the greater good of all. A good day for me is when I can help social profit, nonprofit, and public leaders and their organizations grasp the importance of relational trust, let it guide their decision making, and inform their strategy. This is just one of the ways that I am animating and equipping leaders, organizations, and communities to lead change for the greater good. Tenacious Change is about changing forward into a future that prioritizes the greater good for all. We can do this better together. Come on along!

2 thoughts on “Day 21 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place”

  1. Captain Ernie!! My favorite show after school. I so wanted to be one of the guests on his show. Alas, Davenport was too far to go for a weekday trip.

    1. I wondered if you were a Captain Ernie guy or a Dr. Max and Mambo sort of person. 🙂

Leave a Reply