I’ll have to admit, at some point during the fifth lecture on COVID-19, the message was starting to sound redundant. “Flatten out the infection peak by reducing contact opportunities, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, disinfect and stay at home if you feel the slightest fever or cough developing,” said the experts. I was in Washington D.C. primarily to seek transportation funding but everywhere I turned, I was confronted with the reality of this nasty virus which was headed our way.
I was raised in a time when many illnesses were a big concern for our moms, but as kids, we just expected they were something to fight through and in a couple of weeks you would be back at school. Mumps, measles, chickenpox, I had them all. Most of my friends did as well. These diseases were all miserable.
Soon after arriving at Representative John Curtis’ office I was greeted by his chief of staff and we shook hands. It was a natural reaction that both of us had been cautioned about; I apologized, and he admitted he was struggling to break the habit as well. Then he looked at me and said something quite casually, “you are obviously under the age of fifty, so I’m not concerned about it.” I was not about to confess that his estimation was way off but as I settled in my chair, I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that I was in the age group that may likely suffer critically from this new virus.
As the week progressed, I continued to push for transportation funding in Lehi but increasingly, my thoughts were being diverted by the pervasive topic that surrounded me. By the time I was heading home, we were making arrangements in the city to mitigate the opportunities for spreading the virus and considering potential emergency options.
For those of us who are in the “baby boomer” generation, we understand now that we are the most susceptible to this new virus but there is no need to panic. Federal, state, and local government officials, church leaders, and other community stakeholders have been working tirelessly to put measures in place to help slow the spread of the virus. Here in Utah, we have some of the finest health care facilities and caregivers in the world. The actions we have put in place will help control the spread of the virus and will allow our residents to receive the care they deserve.
I ask each of us to follow the guidelines we have been given. Please keep your environment clean, reduce associations with others, wash your hands, and remember there is no need to panic. The necessary supplies and public services you need will be available.
Mayor Mark Johnson