The President’s message has a due date to the editorial committee roughly ten days before the end of each month. With the updates on the current COVID-19 crisis coming every hour, it’s hard to imagine what the national news headlines will read when this edition hits your inboxes on April 1st. I almost asked if I could postpone writing this until the night before so I could include the most up-to-date information. However, I recently read an article about Italian citizens that were asked to record short messages to themselves the first day the government implemented a nationwide lockdown. Usually, an ‘if we only knew then what we know now’ message would be read months or years later. But these were viewed just ten days later, illuminating the rapidly unfolding pandemic that will likely forever alter the fabric of our society. With that in mind, here’s my message to our April 1st selves:
I hope more people are taking this seriously by now. Gone are the days of ‘it’s just a bad flu’, but there are still cries of ‘No one can’t stop me from living my life’. Spring breakers are still partying on the beaches of Florida. Two nights ago, California’s governor was the first to issue a stay-at-home mandate for every one of the state’s 40 million citizens. Yesterday, six more states followed suit, leaving more than 80 million under stay-at-home rules. The President activated the full services of the National Guard across multiple states today. There are now more than 35,000 confirmed cases in the US and more than 340,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with more than 15,000 deaths reported. Testing in the US remains scarce, with cases probably numbering in the hundreds of thousands to millions already. There are worse times ahead; we all will likely know someone personally that will die in the coming months. We must all now do our part for the good of our entire civilization. Don’t panic, stay strong. We’ve got this.
University of Washington