Record editorial: The data shows we’re staying at home. And now’s not the time to let up.
Take a bow, Summit County residents — though your job isn’t done.
Recently, Google released location data for counties across the country providing a rough indication of how closely people are adhering to recommendations — or mandates in some places, like Summit County — to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The local data from recent weeks shows something many of us already knew: We’re all in this together, and the vast majority of us are pulling our weight.
As of March 29, the volume of trips to places like restaurants and shopping centers in Summit County was down 84% compared to a baseline measured in January and early February. People visited grocery stores 65% less frequently than normal, meanwhile, and trips to workplaces were down 76%.
Steep drop-offs may not exactly be shocking given the county’s stay-at-home order, which went into effect March 27. But the data nonetheless backs up what county officials have said in recent weeks: Residents are taking the responsibility of combating the virus seriously — so much so that strict enforcement measures of the stay-at-home order haven’t been necessary.
The declines in visits to places outside the home dwarf those seen everywhere else in the state. And the decreases started early, roughly coinciding with the first known local case of COVID-19 appearing in mid-March.
Our community should be proud of its willingness to heed expert advice, follow orders from the county Health Department and make sacrifices for the greater good.
There’s no getting around it: The requirements health officials have enacted are unpleasant. For many residents who are now confined to home, tedium has set in and the days are bleeding into one another. Owners of businesses that have temporarily closed and workers who have lost jobs are paying an even steeper price.
But now is not the time to ease up.
With weeks to go until the stay-at-home order is set to expire May 1 — health officials could extend it — and many more weeks beyond that where some sort of social distancing will almost certainly be required, the end of the crisis is not yet near. In fact, officials believe the peak for local cases is still ahead.
If anything, we should increase our efforts to abide by the stay-at-home order.
As the Google data shows, making it through the pandemic is a goal that has clearly united our community. It is clear that continuing to limit contact with others, as hard as that has been, is the fastest and safest way to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
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