City should focus on the real problem, a health crisis

It is time for the city officials of Kent to stop their nimby approach to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Judge denies restraining order). We are facing a public health crisis, the likes of which have not been seen in a generation. A crisis that has no regard for gender, race or city boundaries.

The experts are unanimous in their recommendation that the most prudent thing to do is to contain the spread as quickly as possible. The virus is highly contagious and infections are likely to grow exponentially. The experience of other countries confirm this. Hospitals will be overwhelmed and understaffed as health care workers fall to the illness. We must take drastic action now to slow the spread.

Some populations will be harder hit by the virus than others. Those over 60 or with underlying medical issues at any age seem to have higher rates of complications and death. Another vulnerable population is the homeless. Not only are they more likely to suffer from the virus they also help spread it. Housing the homeless during a medical crises is not only in the public interest it is in our moral imperative to help those among us who are the least able.

Yes, an occasional person will walk away from the offered shelter. It is not a jail. One, who was not infected, did so recently. However, those who are truly ill will not walk away from warm shelter and food.

In times of crises, true leaders emerge. They work with others to confront problems. They step up to lead solutions. This is a regional problem that needs regional cooperation. Kent officials should step up and be part of the solution.

– Barbara Heavey

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