It is very unfortunate that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have contracted the coronavirus. It caused panic among White House aides, politicians, and others who have had close contact with President Trump and his aide Hope Hicks recently who also contracted the virus. They are wondering if they have also contracted it from the president or his aide. Of course, we all tend to hope that President Trumps and Lady Trump have a successful recovery. A number of close aides, senators, etc., were also infected.
This situation tends to verify what health officials have been telling us for months. That is, everyone is subject to infection by this virus. It does not distinguish between race, color, ethnic status, social status, financial status, or any other characteristic. It tells us that everyone is vulnerable and are subject to becoming infected if we do not follow the advice given by top health officials in the country.
Their recommendations for approximately six months have been to wear masks, maintain social distance (six feet), and wash our hands frequently. This advice is as important today as is has been in the past. In fact, the rate of increase in virus cases has increased in about 27 states in the last month or so. Missouri is one of those states. Over seven million Americans have become infected and over 209,000 have died from this disease, and the figures are continuing to rise at a higher rate than some had expected.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated a few days ago that if everyone wore masks, we could prevent 90% of the virus infections in the United States. His suggestion has also been verified by other senior health officials as well. This has been confirmed by the low infection rate in those countries where most individuals wear masks wherever they go.
I hope those who do not take the virus seriously, believe that they are immune to it, or feel that they have a right to do what they want to do will realize that it is in the best interest of their families, their communities, and themselves to follow the recommendations of health officials.
Some tend to believe that wearing masks maintaining social distance, and hand washing do not protect them or that they do no need protection. Unfortunately, some will have to learn the hard way by contracting the virus. In the meantime, they are jeopardizing the health and safety of themselves and others.
Rance Thomas was a faculty member in Sociology/Criminal Justice and served as lead faculty/coordinator of Sociology at Lewis and Clark Community College for 30 years. He became the first person in the college's history to be granted the Professor Emeritus Award when he retired in 2002.