Policy: COVID-19

Hi, my name is Christiaan van Woudenberg, and I am running for mayor of Erie. As a current Trustee for the Town and a father of two teenage daughters, I’m here to talk to you about the Coronavirus.

In the last two days, the Governor has declared a state of emergency, classes have been canceled at school districts across the Front Range, the Candidate Forum has been postponed, and the Erie Community Center has been closed. While these measures may seem extreme, they have all been undertaken to protect public health and safety. To that end, I am also suspending all in-person campaign activities for the foreseeable future, including coffees with Christiaan, meet and greets, and door-to-door campaigning.

In the meantime, I’m asking all of you to help “flatten the curve.” If you haven’t heard this phrase yet, it’s all about using what may seem like extreme preventative measures to contain the exponential growth of infection as much as possible. It gives the medical community critical time to identify and contain infected individuals to prevent an exponential growth in the number of cases that have the potential to overwhelm healthcare systems. Use social distancing to avoid settings where transmission is more likely; stay away from mass gatherings, maintain distance from others, practice proper hygiene. Stay home if you feel sick. These measures will only work if we take them now; by the time they seem necessary, it will be too late. The choices you make today will save lives in the coming weeks.

Some statistics that indicate just how important it is to take early action:

  • Countries that act fast can reduce the number of deaths by a factor of ten.
  • Countries experiencing exponential growth are likely to see a doubling of the number of reported cases every two days.
  • For example, due to delays in testing and diagnosis, the likely number of cases in France is one to two orders of magnitude higher than what is being officially reported.

If you do have to leave the house, please be kind. Be kind to the checkout clerk at the grocery store, who has been inundated with shoppers for the last week and is now scrambling to find childcare with the recent school closures. Be kind to your neighbor, who may need to borrow a roll of toilet paper or a cup of sugar. Be kind to the stranger that has been furloughed from their job in the hospitality industry.

But most of all, please be overly cautious. Thank you and good night.