Letter to the Editor: Please Take COVID-19 Seriously

June 23, 2020

I am not a happy shopper! In early May, I was in the Hot Spot getting my morning necessities and ended up with a bad case of the grumps.
It started with a misunderstanding with the clerk and escalated from there. She was having difficulty understanding what I was asking for due to the plastic guard and said so. I raised my voice with the intent that she could hear me better. She then stated “You don’t have to scold me!”, which I wasn’t. I then apologized to her and finished my transaction at the store. Needless to say, we were both a little upset. But our tension was mild compared to what was to follow.

I turned around to leave and found myself nose to nose with some old man that I did not know. This really upset me because we should still be maintaining a SOCIAL DISTANCE of at least SIX FEET apart. I side stepped and noticed a woman to the other side within three feet. I immediately exclaimed “people the virus is still out there!” This upset the clerk and she admonished me instantly by saying “Hey, don’t be yelling at my customers!”

Again, I apologized and left the store in a bit of a huff, and a month later I still have not gotten over this.

I believe the store should be and likely ARE responsible for ensuring that their customers maintain a proper social distance. If they don’t, then they should be held liable.

I politely ask people to step back now. It’s upsetting and I don’t understand what the public is thinking. Everyone is acting like COVID-19 didn’t ever happen. People wake up! COVID-19 is real and is coming back with a vengeance.

Before retiring three years ago, I worked for 30 years on the ambulance service in the Dade County. What is happening now in the world was always a nightmare scenario that haunted most everyone who worked in EMS. I am thankful that I no longer experience the anguish that the ambulance crews that are working everyday are living with, worrying about catching the virus and taking it home to their families.

It’s going to get worse. We have been lucky that Dade County had not seen any known cases of COVID-19 before now. I fear that is going to change now that summer is in full swing. Don’t let your guard down! Maintain the prescribed social distance of six feet and quarantine yourself if you get ill and don’t spread the disease.

Here are some frightening numbers for everyone to consider. Per the 2010 census, the population of Dade County is 7,883 people, with 1,371 living in Greenfield, 936 in Lockwood, 319 in Everton and 234 in Dadeville. So far Missouri is reporting 16,189 cases of the coronavirus and 880 people have died from it. That is a mortality rate of 5 ½ percent. What this means is that if everyone in the county came down with the virus then there would be over 428 deaths in the county within the next month. 74 in Greenfield, 51 in Lockwood and so on. Surely you can understand. Will these be your family and friends? Your neighbors? Will the funeral homes be able to keep up? Also, what about the weeks to months some will spend in the hospital?

This can be prevented if we take the proper precautions. SIX FEET BACK OR SIX FEET UNDER. It’s our choice. Let us make the right one.

WORSE CASE SCENARIO? As I write this there has not been a single known case of COVID-19 in Dade County. A false sense of security has become the norm. All it will take is one sick person to visit the stores around here. The way most are acting in the communities the virus will spread like wild fire.

Darrel Fite

EMTP, retired

P.S. As I finish this for the paper, today’s news is reporting that Dade and Barton counties are now reporting infections within their counties.