Staff Editorial

Come together by staying apart

Disinfectant and gloves are positioned near the door at Local Craft Ale House in Cedar Rapids on Monday, March 16, 2020.
Disinfectant and gloves are positioned near the door at Local Craft Ale House in Cedar Rapids on Monday, March 16, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

During the floods of 2008, Iowans pulled together by showing up to help sandbag, clean up and provide housing to others in need. This pandemic is different. We have to somehow find a way to come together while remaining apart.

The social distancing aspect of this pandemic is vital and necessary to curbing its effects. Even if you are not showing symptoms, you could still be a carrier of COVID-19 and could infect others around you. By distancing from each other, Iowans can reduce the spread of the virus and save lives by staying apart.

This strategy was key to reducing the impact of the Spanish Flu in 1918 and more recently the Mexican influenza epidemic in 2009. Right now it’s being used in China and Italy, where nationwide efforts to force people to distance themselves have significantly reduced the spread of the virus in just a few short days.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has declared a statewide emergency closing bars and restaurants and churches for the foreseeable future. These are imperatives we have to take seriously if we want to curb the spread of the flu.

It’s difficult and understandably frustrating. We are worried about the impact on all the businesses we know and love. We worry about the livelihoods of our neighbors and our friends and ourselves — so many of our lives and hang in the balance and there are not a lot of clear answers.

But while we remain at home, we don’t have to be idle. There are a lot of ways that you can help out your community, while keeping the appropriate social distance.

Donate to Horizons in Linn County. The Meals on Wheels program is struggling to feed seniors who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. You can find the donate button right on the Horizons website.

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Donate money to the local food pantries. Money goes a long way toward helping them fill the gaps in food service that they need to help your neighbors. There is a complete list of food pantries on the Linn County website along with the phone numbers and websites, so you can donate online.

Leave some for the rest of us. When you shop, be careful not to hoard things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. It’s tempting, but honestly soap and water work best and COVID-19 doesn’t give you diarrhea. You’ll be OK. And when you hoard resources, it makes it harder for your neighbors and friends who don’t have the financial luxury of being able to afford to stock up.

In addition to stopping the spread of the virus, you can stop the spread of fake news. Don’t pass along tips from your mother’s friend who works at some hospital. Use qualified, verified sources of independent reporting. If you are unsure of the source, you can always Google it to see if independent media watchdog groups have identified it as a trustworthy source. Don’t copy and paste posts from Facebook without a source documenting where that information came from. The Gazette has a list of great resources for accurate, science-based information.

Band together as a community online. Right now, in several communities across the state neighbors are sharing resources and information in Facebook groups.

You can use delivery apps such as MyTownToGo, GrumbHub and Chomp, or order delivery from your favorite local restaurants. You can also search for your favorite retailer on Facebook and see if they sell their their products online. And many do!

If you need help, many local restaurants are offering free lunches for people in need, including, Happy Dogs, Black Squirrel Tap, Granite City, Pitaz and La Cantina.

If you know of other ways to get involved, send them to our editorial inbox, editorial@thegazette.com, and help us spread the word, but not COVID-19.

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