Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Clogging The Works For Others

Some time ago there was a notice from the City of Santa Rosa that wet wipes were clogging the machinery in the water works.  This degrades the city's ability to provide quality drinking water and keep the sewer system running smoothly.  When the pipes are clogged, you get a nasty sewer backup.

So there was a plea to stop flushing wipes, paper towels, facial tissues, and feminine hygiene products down the toilet.  Their mnemonic catch phrase was "only flush the 3 P's: pee, poop, and (toilet) paper."  Personally, I never flushed paper towels or feminine hygiene products, but I stopped flushing kleenex and so-called "flushable" wet wipes.

Then came the coronavirus and people started using a lot more wet wipes for disinfecting purposes, and the City had to remind us all again that there was no such thing as a "flushable" wipe.  Not enough people stopped.  The original reminder had to be repeated yesterday.

Will enough people stop it this time?  If not, there could be a sewer backup or a disruption in our potable water supply.  And that would affect everyone, not just the rebellious or stupid ones.  I can stop doing something that's going to cause me harm but I may not be able to stop someone else from causing me harm.

There's a parallel here.  Worldwide, there are a couple million coronavirus cases.  Of those 2.5 million confirmed cases, over 800,000 have been resolved -- 650,000 recoveries, and 170,000 deaths.  That says 80% recover, but 1 in 5 die.  See https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ for the latest numbers. 

So, do I care if some states don't issue statewide stay-at-home orders?  My state issued one pretty early on, and we're still losing people, but not as fast as some other states.  Our president has ordered all immigration to stop, so maybe no one from another country can bring their infection to us.  But the highly contagious virus is already here and states can't block non-residents from entering their states.  So someone from a re-opened state could infect some of us in a locked-down state.

I wish there had been a coordinated, nationwide response to this pandemic.  Even it if was late, and a lot of people had to die unnecessarily, at least we'd be on the same page.  There might still be demonstrations against any lockdown.  The organizers of the first of those demonstrations advised people to wear their masks and keep their distance from each other.  That didn't happen.  And the signs the demonstrators waved and the chants they sang were directed against Democrats.  And then our President egged them on with his "LIBERATE" tweets.

I mourn that something that should be treated as a medical and economic emergency had to turn political.  We're going to lose a lot more people -- old people, people of color, poor people, most through no fault of their own -- before this is over.  If it is ever over.

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