Shawn Davidson via Facebook

I don’t post much on Facebook. I kinda hope that fact catches some extra attention because I have a few things to say. Because I’m truly terrified.

For those who don’t know, I’m the EMS Chief in St. Mary’s County. From that position I have a front row seat to the COVID-19 response in Maryland generally and, obviously, locally as well. This position gives me insight into where we are in the viral progression and what our resources look like when it comes to making an adequate response. We get a LOT of data, much of which is not ready for public distribution but is instructive for planning purposes.

One thing that is done regularly is running of models for the viral progression. These are some of the data that aren’t for public consumption for a variety of reasons that all boil down to they are best-guess scenarios to help guide decision making processes. throwing that raw data into the world would be a real disservice to our communities. But I bring the models up for a reason: they allow us to plug in variables and see how community behavior can effect the disease progression in our community.

The main take away is this: SOCIAL DISTANCING WORKS. In every model from every single source the infection curve is flatter, the duration is shorter and the demand on resources manageable with strict social distancing.

Here’s the part that scares me. The governor issued a stay at home order. Cell phone data shows that compliance with that order is slipping. People are starting to go out more. The more people go out the less social distancing we can manage. The less social distancing we manage the greater the spread and the longer the duration of the problem. The greater the spread and the longer the duration the more likely it is that our resources will be overwhelmed. That endangers every single one of us. Because if COVID-19 patients take up all the care spaces there is no room for other sick people. And other sick people aren’t going away because of the pandemic.

Maybe you feel a false sense of security behind your mask. Maybe you’re stir crazy at home and you “NEED” to get out. Maybe you’re lulled into complacency because local numbers actually look pretty good. Maybe you’re just being selfish and want to get out. Maybe you’re convinced that it’s OK to “run out to the ___.” If any of that is the case I have news for you.




And you are making the problem worse. I know, it’s frustrating to feel stuck at home. I also know that there are folks who really do legit HAVE to go out for work or to ensure care for at-risk loved ones. I get that. Those aren’t the people I’m talking about.

I’m talking about folks thoughtlessly going out for whatever, not wearing masks, pleasure outings and the like. You personally may not be effected but you make the systemic problem much worse by increasing risk and exposure to everyone.

I’m not one to point to a problem without a solution in mind. So a few things you can do:

1. Plan trips. If you need to go out, because at some time we all have to go to the grocery store or pharmacy, make a list, plan where you will go and do it all in one shot in the least time possible.

2. Order online for home delivery. I know that for some folks this might be out of reach economically but it helps. AND you can get most anything with online services. This allies also to local restaurants and pharmacies. There are services that will deliver to you so you can stay in. Most businesses have a website that can guide you to those resources they are attached to.

3. Coordinate with friends and/or family before you go out. Call your mama, for instance and ask her if she needs anything then loop her home into your route wile you’re out. If someone you know offers to make the run for you, let them. For every person you save from having to go out you’re helping them directly and all of us indirectly.

4. Do your best to limit outings to once a week. Again, that requires planning, list making and thoughtfulness. You can manage that. I have faith.

5. ALWAYS COVER YOUR FACE WHEN YOU GO OUT. If you don’t have a mask, wrap a scarf around the lower part of your face or pull a crew neck tee down to your eyeballs. Anything that you can do to keep your mouth and nose covered protects you from others and others from you.

You can consider this as 8 years worth of pent up Facebook posts, because I know it’s a novel. But please, I’m begging you, STAY HOME as much as you can. WASH YOUR HANDS often even while you’re at home. COVER YOUR FACE when you do have to go out. We know empirically that the best way to slow the spread and flatten the curve is through social distancing. It is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. But it is vital we all do our part.

Yes, I’m afraid. But I’m also hopeful. Please encourage the folks you know to maintain social distancing and do your part for us all.

Thank you, be safe.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...