How Charlotte can beat coronavirus
BY JORGE MILLARES
It was a beautiful day in Charlotte. Families were at overcrowded parks mingling with one another, real estate agents proudly hosted house showings throughout the city, friends met up at golf courses for a day of beers and golf, and neighbors were having block parties as their children played with others. No, this wasn’t a few weeks ago prior to Mecklenburg County’s mandatory ‘Stay at Home’ order. This was this past weekend in the Queen City.
It has been less than a month since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in North Carolina. Since that day, we now have 1,890 cases in the state and almost 500 cases in Mecklenburg County, and many others remain untested. But from the outside looking in you wouldn’t know that we are in the midst of a global pandemic here. It’s just another day in Charlotte.
While cases continue to rise at an exponential rate in our city, many in our community are going about their daily lives without a care in the world. Whether it is because they have not been directly affected by the virus or they don’t think they can be affected by it, one thing is certain. We have to do better than this, Charlotte.
There are many people in our city that watch the news of how the novel coronavirus has impacted the residents of New York and New Jersey and say ‘that won’t happen to us’. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There was a window of time when they could have minimized the spread of the virus by adhering to the ‘Stay at Home’ orders and social distancing guidelines. But many of them said the same thing while watching the news of how it affected cities overseas- ‘that won’t happen to us’. Unfortunately, many of them are now watching their friends and family members perish as a result of this horrendous disease.
That window of time is quickly closing for us in Charlotte and we must act immediately before we suffer the same fate.
Like most problems, COVID-19 will not simply go away by just ignoring it. It requires a unified, cohesive approach as a community. A community where only truly essential businesses are considered essential. A community where employers offer paid leave to employees that are not deemed ‘essential’. A community where the disabled are not forgotten. A community where local and state government offers rental assistance to those in need.
A community that is mindful of our homeless neighbors during these trying times. A community where we offer financial assistance to small businesses to ensure they can stay afloat. A community where corporations prioritize the health and well being of their employees above economic gain. A community that lends a helping hand to undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for government assistance. A community where staying home with your family to protect other families takes precedence over a fun day out on the town. A community that understands that every action, and inaction, affects our neighbors.
It’s time take this seriously, stay home, follow social distancing guidelines, and be more unified in our actions than ever before, Charlotte. That is the only way that we will win this battle. As a truly unified Queen City.