Today we’re being bombarded with reports from academia, mainstream and social media, and the government. This announcement is not intended to condense all those reports, politicize them, or provide our own set of recommendations, other than to reinforce one particularly important issue – to come together as Americans and stay home. Now is not the time to get out and travel.
Instead, spend some time with family. Work on other projects.
One principle we sincerely believe in is that American Adventurist is a vehicle which allows for the individual, who shares our passion for this pastime and community of interest, to be something greater than yourself through fellowship, stewardship, and leadership. Now is the time to do just that.
Lately, many social media organizations have been advocating for “social distancing” through self-quarantine by camping. On Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook we see people essentially bragging that they’re packing their gear and heading out to the most remote location imaginable, typically only a few hours away from their home. While romantic conceptually that’s not practical, nor is it contributing to the health of our community. Let’s take a closer look at why we’re convinced this isn’t a good strategy.
“Coronavirus is just like the flu – it’ll all be okay.”
COVID-19 is similar to the flu in how it’s transmitted – via respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces. And that’s why many of the preventive measures we talk about are the same as the flu. But the two viruses are different in ways that are significant and dangerous, and current data supports the FACT that COVID-19 is on the rise in America.
Meanwhile, flu has a vaccine; COVID-19 does not. The flu vaccine protects all of us, including our vulnerable populations who are frail or who have medical conditions. People who get the flu when they’ve taken the vaccine tend to have milder, and shorter illnesses. A vaccine for COVID-19 won’t be available for at least 18 months, if even then. Everyone is vulnerable.
Flu has established treatments; COVID-19 does not. Our flu treatments make the illness milder and shorter. When someone does get hospitalized with the flu, the health care team have experience and material for treating the flu. With COVID-19 we don’t have a treatment, other than supportive care, which means they can keep you alive longer, whereupon you either survive or die.
“I don’t need to worry about getting sick. I’m healthy.”
Sixty percent of Americans have at least one medical condition whether it’s high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, or something else. Feeling healthy and being young isn’t a good reason either. The majority of hospitalizations in China were over age 30.
“Coronavirus is not in ‘the wilderness’, so I can go out.”
You don’t know it’s not in your area. There’s been a shortage of testing in the US, so we don’t have an accurate idea of how many people – or what areas – have truly been affected. The fact is, it is already here and has been for some time.
Did you know that individuals can shed the virus (infecting others) for up to 2 weeks before they get sick? That’s why the quarantine for COVID-19 is 14 days. You can be standing by someone who is infectious but not yet sick; in a queue at the grocery story; punching in your PIN at the ATM; pumping fuel into you adventure vehicle; and quietly pick up the virus. A virus which can survive on some surfaces from a minimum of 1 to 3 days. On every gas pump handle or debit card device you touch.
Alternatively, you could be the one who is positive and inadvertently spreading it to others. This is part of what explains the rapid spread of the disease. People don’t realize they are infectious. It could be anyone.
If you do decide to retreat to the “safety” of your remote camping site, what might happen if you have COVID-19 and you begin to exhibit symptoms? Even with the latest communication and locator gear, rescue could be hours away, while the respiratory effects of this infection rapidly progress and you slowly suffocate. Additionally, you have now initiated a cascade of human rescuers that you’ve exposed which ultimately consumes more scarce resources and threatens more lives. This is why social distancing is so important. By severely limiting our interactions with each other (even if we think we’re healthy), we have a chance of slowing the progress of the virus.
The Bottom Line in a Pandemic:
Naysayers may be acting out of a false sense of security. They may be downplaying the seriousness of the situation out of fear. But with lives at stake, we simply can’t afford to deny the danger. Stay at home. Take the opportunity to do that deferred maintenance on your vehicle, or perform that modification or installation you’ve really wanted to do. Take time now to do deliberate trip planning for later on. Study things and do things and be well. At home.
If you happen to already be out there on extended travel far from home, consider hunkering down someplace safe until the situation improves.
If we each do our part, we will make a difference and flatten the curve. Look at polio – with global collaborative efforts polio is now 99% eliminated in the world. Today with the COVID-19 crisis, social distancing buys us the critical time we need to save lives. Be part of something bigger than yourself, and don’t forget to support small businesses during this time of uncertainty.
Stay home, hang out in your garage, and be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
Poster images courtesly of Duke Cannon
Photos by Chad de Alva