As of March 20, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department reported there are eight cases of the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, in Greene County. Gov. Parson reported the first death in Boone County on Wednesday.
According to the Springfield government’s website, there is no vaccine, cures or preventative products for COVID-19, which is why health officials are urging people to take rigorous safety measures, like social distancing.
The SGCHD says the virus is thought to spread by close contact between people, within six feet, by “respiratory droplets produced when an infected (person) coughs or sneezes.”
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure issued an order to prohibit public gatherings of 10 or more, excluding educational institutions, daycare facilities and daily business operations, until April 1.
McClure announced bars, taverns or food establishments offering drinking or dine-in options have to follow the 10 person rule as well, causing most businesses to offer alternative dining services or shut down completely.
Multiple Facebook groups have been created, such as “Welcome to Springfield: We’re Closed!” and “Support Local Ozarks,” to help the businesses affected and keep the community informed.
Dr. Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins, says these measures are indeed necessary.
In a peer-reviewed article, Maragakis said cancellations of sports, cruises and other public gatherings “help stop or slow down the spread of disease allowing the health care system to more readily care for patients over time.”
Director of Magers Health and Wellness Dr. David Muegge said these cancellations are following the Center for Disease Control’s federal guidelines.
“The only possible way to help people suffering with this thing is to help them avoid getting it to begin with, and social distancing is a part of that,” Muegge said. “Not the only part, but a big part.”
Although COVID-19 is more fatal to the elderly or those with underlying conditions, Muegge said this does not mean younger people have a “get out of jail free card.”
“There are some young people who have contracted serious cases of this and occasionally ended up in the hospital and have occasionally died,” Muegge said.
He said while young people have better statistics against COVID-19, there is a chance they could transfer the virus to an elderly loved one or a friend with an elderly loved one.
Not only is the possibility of infecting others high without social distancing, but Muegge said countries who did not practice distancing themselves are now facing medical supply rationing.
“Countries that haven’t done this, like Italy, have had to totally shut down their country to the point that they are rationing ventilators,” Muegge said.
He said one of the ways to avoid medical supply rationing is by social distancing.
Muegge said this virus calls for a higher level of community cooperation and sacrifice than typical everyday life.