As the COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic worsens, we need strong leadership in Baltimore County.
Hopefully, Johnny O and his administration will begin to understand that a 9-to-5 response to the crisis is unacceptable.
Recently, Dr.Anthony Fauci stated in a news conference that the death toll in the United States could reach 200,000+. In addition to the fatalities, we could see an economic disaster unlike any other time in history.
With that in mind, one should consider the number of vulnerable at-risk senior citizens who are living alone or independently. When they are at home late at night and have a question about the coronavirus–which has the ability to spread three times faster than the flu, wouldn’t it be nice for them to hear a calming voice on the other end of the phone?
But that won’t happen in Baltimore County, where the “hotline” only stays heated up between normal business hours.
Rather, those vulnerable seniors will have to rely on the internet, where they will more than likely see videos like this:
(Warning, the following video contains graphic footage of coronavirus patients. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.)
Folks, The Baltimore Post chose to use this graphic video in hopes of scaring the hell out of people. Gov. Larry Hogan lamented that many people are ignoring his plea to shelter in place and practice social distancing, which is why he signed an executive order for everyone to stay at home.
As the Governor stated, ““We Are No Longer Asking Or Suggesting That Marylanders Stay Home, We Are Directing Them To Do So.”
Folks, this is the grim reality for every citizen in the United States, not just Baltimore County. This deadly virus continues to attack citizens and strain the government’s ability to respond.
And that is why we need strong leadership on the local level, not just the national or state level.
On the surface, it seems that Baltimore County is fully engaged with providing the citizens with all the necessary information in a cohesive manner:
“Keeping residents safe and informed remains our highest priority,” County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “Baltimore County’s agencies have been coordinating in preparation for the arrival of COVID-19, and we are prepared to respond to any potential impacts the virus has on our communities.”
Sadly, that is not the reality. The Baltimore County COVID-19 virus information website is “a convoluted mess” according to a former county employee who is quite familiar with the technology involved to create and maintain such a site.
Such difficult-t0-navigate government sites are one of the reasons people are instead flocking to social media to get their information. One would think that a strong leader would reach those constituents by posting messages related to the crisis.
At least Johnny O’s Facebook page has a number of posts dealing with this deadly pandemic:
However, we’re perplexed that Baltimore County is asking for assistance getting thermometers for our first responders as they help battle this deadly virus.
In hindsight, maybe the county would have the such supplies on hand if they didn’t provide $82 million in corporate welfare to Tradepoint Atlantic.
Folks, we’re just continuing to scratch our heads about the fact that nothing has changed regarding the phone numbers listed on the county’s website.
Despite our coverage on this very important communication “lifeline” to a county gripped in fear, the status quo continues.
The below message is posted on the Department of Aging phone line:
Department of Aging Voicemail System
Sadly, the coronavirus does not adhere to a 9-to-5 schedule.
The Baltimore Post urges Johnny O and his administration to make information more easily available to our most vulnerable citizens. Fix the website to be more user-friendly. Provide 24/7 coverage for the county hotline so citizens can get information when it is most convenient to them, not when it is convenient for the county government.
We believe the county’s investment in these essential lifelines will be most beneficial for our most vulnerable residents, who currently face a nightmare of uncertainty.