We may have freedom of choice, but in fighting this virus, let’s not be stupid

Is our love of freedom, liberty and independence going to help the coronavirus kill us?

I’ll get back to that in a bit. But first …

Was talking on the phone to a man at his Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles this week, ordering food to be delivered to my mom for her 91st birthday dinner.

Usually, mom goes out to dinner on her day … but not this year. So I ordered from her favorite Chinese restaurant that I have visited many times. It’s really good.

Anyway, the guy and I started talking about what we’re all talking about.

I told him I read a story that coronavirus cases in many Asian countries are less than Western countries, including the U.S.

“It’s in our culture,” to wear masks, he told me.

It should be part of our culture … although in fairness, we were given mixed messages  when this hit weeks ago.

Why?

As I’ve said before, numbers don’t lie.

The U.S. has just more than 425,000 coronavirus cases and more than 14,500 deaths. That’s 44 deaths per million  Americans, according to the Worldometer website. The sad thing is American deaths jumped about 1,500 Wednesday in the few hours I’ve been writing this.  And about half those deaths are in New York and New Jersey.

That’s terrible, but 15 other countries have a higher deaths-per-million rate than the U.S. with Spain (316) and Italy (292) having the highest rates.

A few of those 15 countries are very small European countries.

Then I looked at nine Asian countries  … South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

Their average deaths per million? Less than one.

I left China out for obvious reasons.

So let’s talk about masks.

We were told masks wouldn’t help keep us from getting the virus and healthcare workers needed them more.

Now we’re being told if we have to go out to use masks because they keep us from touching our face and, if we’re carrying the virus but not showing symptoms, it will keep us from spreading it.

So wear masks. Do social distancing and all the other stuff you’ve heard many times.

I think most of us are … but not everyone.

On Sunday, March 29, I went for a walk at the Lubbock Lake Landmark. I saw two other people there and they were a lot farther away from us than six feet … try 300 yards at least.

Afterwards, I drove through the Buddy Holly Recreation Area, where I had originally planned to walk. There were lots of people there … enough that I was happy I didn’t walk there. Afterwards, I stopped at a home improvement store for something I needed. There was a line of people waiting to get in and ignoring signs telling them to stay six feet apart. I went back a few days later early on a weekday ands got right in. But workers were keeping a limit on how many go in.

I was at a grocery store and watched young workers  standing right next to each other and chatting.

Does an entire family need to go grocery shopping because the kids are bored?

No matter what your political views are about coronavirus, who’s to blame or how to fix it … it’s hard to argue with how we all get it.

Which is why we need to stop it.

We. Us. You. Me. Them. They. Everyone.

No matter what our governments do, if we do what experts say we need to do we can flatten the curve.

Remember … we’re supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

We may be free … but let’s not be stupid.

If we don’t flatten the curve, the temporary financial hit we’re seeing will get much worse. And I understand people who want to risk getting businesses open as soon as possible. So far, my income has not been at risk. But I understand the pressure on people who are not as fortunate.

And in Texas, we still have a fighting chance to keep this from turning into New York. Texas has the 11th highest number of cases in the nation, but at this point, we have 6 deaths per million people. There are 39 states with higher rates.

So do your part and if you see someone who isn’t or thinks this whole thing is a hoax, treat them to a New York vacation and see if they change their ignorant attitude.

Hopefully we’ll flatten the curve, warmer weather will help, we’ll get a vaccine and things will get back to normal.

But that will be a new normal.

Our governments … and us … should be better prepared in the future.

People keep emergency kits in their car for severe weather.

We should all be ready with masks, hand sanitizer, wipes and more.

Because it’s really up to us and if we fail …