Why we are sheltering in place

With every U.S. state having issued some type of public health emergency declaration, millions of Americans are sheltering in place.

“When the coronavirus first broke out in China, most people assumed that it was going to be a mild disease and it is still for the vast majority of people,” said Glenn Cross, a retired senior bioweapons expert who followed disease outbreaks throughout his career.

For this reason, the virus may not have been taken seriously at first. However, with increased COVID-19 infections and deaths, a need to control the spread of the disease became apparent.

Dr. James Wilson, a physician and infectious disease expert who has worked with several universities including Georgetown University and the University of Nevada, says that sheltering in place is necessary because, “It’s saving us because if you overwhelm your medical infrastructure, then your chance of dying is greatly increased as a community. The good news though is that it is preventable if we just follow orders, like what they [the government] ask of us.”

Wilson notes that if the medical community becomes overwhelmed, patients will suffer. “. . . what suffers is the patient. The patient’s care. If that happens, then what we’ll see is that there’s a spill over effect into the community.”

Cross agrees. “We’re sheltering at home to flatten the curve, and that is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the general population. So by sheltering in place, you’re hoping that fewer people get sick at any time,” said Cross.

A Cactus Shadows senior, Derek Levy, also believes the measures are necessary. “I think that we should do the shelter in place system because we probably won’t be getting a vaccine for at least a year.”

Levy acknowledged that younger people probably aren’t at great risk, but felt the shelter-in-place restrictions were still important. Even if students are not affected, “your parents and grandparents will be.”