“All of us can do our part to be successful in confronting this global challenge and return to some form of normality,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, as he last week addressed graduates of his alma mater, College of the Holy Cross. Noting that the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States was approaching 2 million — and having now crossed the threshold of 100,000 lives lost — Dr. Fauci declared, “We must be united in our efforts to prevail.”
Alameda residents are doing their part to confront and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Whenever I’m out on a bike ride or early-evening walk, the vast majority of people I see are wearing masks and face coverings and maintaining 6 feet of social distance as they walk, ride bikes and pick up their purchases — curbside — at local retail stores and their take-out food and beverages from local restaurants.
Because you’ve been careful and conscientious, our city’s per capita number of COVID-19 cases is one of the lowest in Alameda County, but our city and county still haven’t stopped the increase of new coronavirus cases — that is, we haven’t “flattened the curve” (you can see case numbers and other data at acphd.org), so we must continue to exercise caution.
Although we are now in early Stage 2 of Gov. Newsom’s four-stage plan to reopen California — curbside pick-up from retail stores is now allowed — Alameda County’s shelter-in-place order remains in effect. Everyone should continue to stay and work at home as much as possible, wear a face covering outside their homes and stay at least 6 feet away from people outside their households. This may mean avoiding the beach on a warm day.
County public health officials will assess the rate of new cases two weeks after the May 18 modification of the shelter-in-place order, because the incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 14 days. If the anticipated increase from relaxing the order is not too steep, more types of businesses and activities will be allowed to open. If we “flatten the curve,” then send it downward, we won’t overwhelm our hospitals and medical workers, and more businesses and activities can open and stay open.
Alameda Strong fund: “Now is the time, if ever there was one, for us to care selflessly about one another,” Dr. Fauci told Holy Cross graduates, noting the school’s Jesuit emphasis on social justice and service to others.
In Alameda we show our care for one another by conscientiously following the shelter-in-place order. We also reach out to help others in times of need, even those we don’t know. Now you can help others who have experienced serious financial loss as a result of COVID-19.
In April, the Alameda City Council approved $600,000 for grants to small businesses that were severely impacted by the pandemic. But there are still more local businesses, nonprofit groups and residential tenants who have suffered coronavirus-related financial losses. To address these needs, the city worked with the West Alameda Business Association (WABA), Downtown Alameda Business Association (DABA) and the Alameda Chamber of Commerce to create the “Alameda Strong” community fund to which you can contribute to emergency relief grants for local small businesses, nonprofits and residential renters. With your help we can double the city‘s $600,000 contribution and more. Please make your tax-deductible donation today at alamedastrong.org.
More room to roam: Our “slow streets” — Pacific Avenue between Grand and Oak streets, and Versailles Avenue between Central Avenue and Fernside Boulevard — have been well-received, so we’re expanding the program to include Pacific Avenue from Grand to Ninth Street and Santa Clara Avenue between Sixth Street and Pacific Avenue. These blocks will be closed to automobile traffic, except for residents, deliveries and emergency vehicles. Enjoy safely!
Take care of yourselves. Be kind to others. Be smart. Be safe. Be Alameda Strong!
Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is the mayor of Alameda.
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Author: Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft