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In the past few days, the city of Westport has taken some drastic steps in their attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, also called the coronavirus. Since Monday, all restaurants and food establishments are only available through pick-up, which needs to take place outdoors, and all haircuts and salons, gyms and fitness centers, libraries and beach facilities are closed. While this may seem like over aggressive actions that restrict and negatively impact the lives of many Westporters, especially while the schools are closed indefinitely and students are shuttered inside with little to do besides completing their online work, it is absolutely necessary.
The Town of Westport has 20 confirmed cases, which represents roughly a quarter of all cases in the entire state of Connecticut. Additionally, the Westport Weston health district issued a message saying “COVID-19 is everywhere.” In summary, we are all living in a hotbed of virus activity. This is a virus that is extremely contagious in less-concentrated areas, so given Westport’s amount of confirmed cases, it is clear that this town needs to both metaphorically and physically “shut down” while the coronavirus runs its course.
Most people have presumably heard the phrase “flatten the curve” in the past few days when referring to COVID-19, and it’s this exact notion of flattening the curve that Westporters should remember when dealing with the inactiveness of many Westport services. The odds that a student, or anyone under the age of 65-70, contracts the disease and suffers serious symptoms is relatively low. This is not necessarily an amazing thing. When people don’t show serious symptoms, they might be unaware they have coronavirus at all. Then, those same people may communicate with other people who spread it more and more, and those who do have symptoms can’t get treated for them because so many people are suffering from the disease.
With the town of Westport forcing business to close down, the amount of interaction between people is diminished. This ultimately will prevent a spike in the notorious “curve” that could result in overcrowding of Westport’s hospitals, doctors’ office and a shortage in medical equipment. Take, for example, Italy, where a failure to lockdown the country early on has now forced doctors to decide who they will save, and who will die in hospitals throughout the country. In order to prevent another Italy-like disaster, the abrupt closure and regulation of local business and services is a necessary step.