Food for thought, not fear

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The main uncertainty regarding the coronavirus outbreak for Taos is how big it will get, and how fast. The Centers for Disease Control says that “many people in the United States will at some point, either this year or next, get exposed to this virus.”

According to statistics, it’s “plausible” that 20 to 60 percent of adults will be infected with COVID-19 disease. So far, 80 percent of cases globally have been mild, but if the case fatality rate is around 1 percent – which several experts say it may be – then a scenario of tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. alone is possible.

The speed at which the outbreak plays out here in our town matters for its consequences. The biggest fear is the health care system becoming overwhelmed by a sudden explosion of illness that requires more people to be hospitalized than the system can handle.

Given that scenario, it stands to reason more people will become sick and more people will die because there won’t be enough hospital beds or ventilators to keep them alive at Holy Cross Hospital.

A disaster of that magnitude can possibly be averted with the protective measures we’re now seeing more of — closing schools, canceling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, self-isolation, avoiding crowds — to keep the virus from spreading fast, if not halting its spread entirely.

Tempo asked a few food purveyors, restaurants and coffee shops how they are handling customers and customer service at this time.

The World Cup Café and Coffee Apothecary are choosing to go with disposable cups during the outbreak to avoid germs and contamination spreading.

Love Apple, Common Fire, Doc Martin's, the Trading Post Café and others plan to uphold the high standards they always follow: strict rules around cleanliness and hand-washing “that always apply, virus or not,” Martyrs new executive chef Ky Quintanilla told Tempo.

Cid’s Food Market is asking customers to do their part in staying vigilant about cleanliness and avoiding handling food unless you plan on purchasing it.

“Cid’s Food Market has been keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 situation, and doing our due diligence to make sure our team have the knowledge and resources they need to minimize any potential spread of this and any germs,” said Joshua Cunningham, Cid’s marketing director. “We already run a tight ship in terms of cleanliness and sanitization, and have strict state and federal regulations we adhere to when it comes to food handling.

“Because this is a highly communicable virus which can harbor within an individual for up to two weeks before symptoms appear, and as we are a very public place, we are asking our customers to do their due diligence also, so we can all play our part in not spreading this within our community.”

Washing hands regularly, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and staying home if not feeling well are all easy enough to do and in this case, may even help save lives.

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