As our entire nation and our communities deal with the unfortunate impact of the Coronavirus, we find ourselves at times somewhat impatient with those around us. If you are one of the great majority that finds this crisis a serious issue to deal with, I understand where you are coming from.
As of 2017, the average age on Marco Island was 65.5 years of age, so it’s no wonder you are a bit perturbed with those not taking the guidelines as laid down by the CDC, state and local officials seriously. We have a bullseye on us as regards to our age, so I really don’t want to hear excuses why they can’t follow the rules which will keep us all safe.
Couple that with the fact that many islanders have a number of the extenuating health-related issues that make us more likely to be susceptible to this virus. Heart issues, breathing problems, diabetes and high blood pressure all contribute to that target on our backs becoming more pronounced.
It doesn’t much help matters when you see 18 to 26-year-old adolescences acting so irresponsibly on television and on social media sites every day. They are not only endangering their lives, but the lives of their own families and friends. The original reports from health experts claiming they “probably” wouldn’t be affected were wrong, and they have been.
City officials were correct when they closed the public beach access points and parking down. They did so out of an abundance of caution. They were reacting in an effort to protect the lives and safety of all our residents and visitors.
The last generation to be thrust into a world crisis such as this was that of my parents, during World War II. They were called upon to make enormous sacrifices both here at home and on the battlefields of Europe and in the Pacific.
They gave up everything for the war effort. Rationing cards and stamps were distributed to those left on these shores for meat, dairy, dried fruits, jams, jellies, coffee, flower and even lard, all products which were all in short supply, but they understood the dire need to sacrifice to feed the war effort.
Fast forward to 2020, and we once again are called upon to do our share, but this time we are simply asked to reduce our travel and interaction with each other. To keep our distance from each other and not congregate in groups larger than ten. Places such as restaurants, entertainment venues and bars have been curtailed or were finally shut down completely.
When we bring this latest chapter in our history to a close, we need to remember those that have worked so diligently within the service industry. In hotels, restaurants, bars and the entertainment venues around our state and here on the island. We need to double our support for those folks and the owners of those venues that are so much a part of our island as its residents and will suffer greatly during this time.
Unfortunately, a small minority of the population has chosen not to listen or obey those simple requests. Photos of beaches on and around the area show them flooded with those that would not simply listen, the most recent being up in the area of North Collier County.
You could see the frustration in Sheriff Rambosk’s face as he answered questions from Collier County Commissioners as to the situation on a small patch of sand just off the Marco River and within his jurisdiction. This during last week’s Commission meeting regarding implementing more stringent restrictions.
Commissioners had chosen to close the beaches under their control more than a week ago, but violators continued to congregate in large groups, arriving at that spot—others by boats and other by watercraft. He committed his best efforts, but admitted enforcement is a difficult issue.
Marco Civic leaders followed suit but have been under considerable pressure to re-open the public beach access points along Collier Boulevard, while making overtures to MICA to reopen its parking areas. In my opinion, it would be a mistake. We are not anywhere near reaching the point where this outbreak has begun to subside, and the past efforts at enforcing “social distancing” have had a less than a positive effect until the more severe actions were taken.
The sacrifices our leaders have asked us to make are minuscule to those made by what has become known as the “Greatest Generation.” They stepped up and did the job, no matter how difficult or costly it was. American industry proved it could crank up production and did whatever it took. It produced 297,000 aircraft, 193,000 artillery pieces, 86,000 tanks, 2,000,000 Army trucks and countless other ships and other equipment in only 4 short years.
You’ll have to excuse me if I can’t swallow this rubbish that we can’t do this today, don’t tell me we can’t make respirators, protective gowns and masks in great quantities to protect those on the frontlines today of this health crisis. We can and we will do it, because we are Americans, the greatest force for good in the world today and we should never forget it.