Sounding the alarm

March 26, 2020 9:45 AM

I was born and raised in Mission. My family doesn’t know I’m writing.

I contact you from rural upstate New York, where I now live after some years in New York City. As I write, the region directly south of me represents the high tide mark for confirmed COVID-19 in the U.S. and the entire state will soon lockdown.

I’m writing with a simple message that I hope is taken plainly: What is happening here — and worse — can happen there, and uncontrolled spread means a generation-defining trauma.

Fortunately, you are likely still in the final days of the window where you can easily prevent widespread community transmission.

I call on all to set aside any grievances, confusion, or discord that has arisen during the chaotic development of this situation — for your sake, for your families, and for everybody you (and I) know and love in the Mission Valley and surrounding regions.

I urge you, focus on straightforward facts as currently known:

1) Close social contact is the top way the disease is spread.

2) With an incubation period of up to two weeks, entire towns can be exposed before anybody realizes they’re sick.

3) Pre-emptive and aggressive social distancing is the best way to prevent uncontrolled outbreaks and ease a return toward normal life afterward.

This is a wildfire. Fight it with the same strength and unity, and I know the resilience of all your communities can accomplish what those in my new home could not.

—Stephen M Ashley, Roxbury, N.Y.