COVID-19 - a look forward
According to the California Department of Public Health, the great state of California has experienced 24,424 cases of COVID-19 since I last wrote a blog. Last month, our region was ramping up for the summer and preparing major events that included beach cleanups, fundraisers and the Scuba Show held in Long Beach. All of that has come crashing down on top of our Southern California dive industry. We've experienced cancellations or grand modifications due to the current epidemic commonly referred to as the coronavirus.
University of Chicago medicine states that the actual name of this virus is SARS-CoV-2 and that it causes a further disease known as COVID-19. We know today that this is a novel virus, meaning that medical professionals have not had to tackle this form of coronavirus in the past. We also know that COVID-19 is a rapidly moving upper respiratory illness. One that pushes individuals onto respirators and increases their bodily need for oxygen due to the reduced capacity of lung function.
As divers, we understand that respiratory illnesses do not bode well for the underwater adventurer. This fact alone should motivate divers all around the world to take heed in protecting themselves and their families from transmission.
The last thing a diver needs with regards to COVID-19 is something that can inhibit the ability of the human body to transfer oxygenated blood into the bloodstream and effectively remove carbon dioxide through the body processes. A diver can have their breathing rates affected and possibly end their diving careers if the damage to the lungs becomes too extensive with this virus.
It is for this reason that Beach Cities Scuba has stopped beach and boat operations. We've reduced our foot traffic in stores and taken the appropriate steps to protect our employees and our customers from this novel virus. At this time, we have limited operations and are focused on fulfilling online orders. We, like many of you, hope this flattens the curve with regards to the virus spreading. This is the reason that we have not thrown caution to the wind with our customers and put them and their families at risk by continuing to operate in groups. At the end of the day, the Southern California diver is our most important asset. They are the individuals that explore our beautiful Pacific coastline and keep us motivated to continue education, equipment and experience benefits for every diver!
Beach Cities Scuba has not chosen to go quietly into the night. We have worked towards finding solutions with numerous manufacturers that help provide protection to the general population. It is our goal to protect the dive community to the best of our ability. Because your lungs are the most important part of the scuba experience!
We have received shipment of an adapter to help medical professionals today and hope that many of them can implement this to protect their patients and themselves. The face is completely covered and the snorkel mask is converted into a lightweight, light duty gas mask. Yes, we know it looks silly. We know that if you are tall and have to walk through a doorway, you gotta duck. We know that if it's raining outside, you might wanna find another solution for that filter canister. But, it's working. That's the great part. The wearer is completely protected from outside sources, they can't scratch their face (which we know we do subconsciously all the time), the face shield does not fog up; and, most importantly, they are able to protect themselves from the outside environment using an appropriate filter. This modification may lay the groundwork for a future solution to patient rooms that have highly communicable disease transmission.
Our economy is damaged and many small businesses throughout the Southern California region are shut down; their workers confined to working from home or not working at all. The unemployment continues to rise along with our own individual cabin fevers. This virus is so aggressive that we have all taken drastic measures to protect the population and our own communities to the best of our abilities. Today, every single state in America has declared a state of emergency at the same time. This has not happened in the history of our great nation. To say the least, it is a historic moment in societies around the globe as we battle against COVID-19 together.
Alas, this is not end of times.
The massive efforts of companies around the world has not gone unnoticed. Medical and emergency services personnel are working around the clock while other leaders of the society are working to change 2020 into a stable economy and get us back to a new normal. Our dive community has heroes working in the midst of this pandemic. Though they've had to stop going to the beaches or enjoying the occasional boat to a SoCal dive site; they have turned their attention towards their own communities. Some are supplying food and other necessities to their neighbors. Others are working day and night to find solutions to keep our economy rolling forward. Teachers are adapting their classrooms to continue teaching students in an online environment. More are serving in hotspots of communities to include hospitals and the streets as officers and paramedics. Once again, the American ingenuity and might steps forward as we come together as a nation.
Upcoming Event Changes
For SoCal divers, our upcoming events have changed. All beach and boat operations are stopped until May 15th at this time.
- April 22nd is Earth Day. This may be a great day for you divers to head out with proper protection and clean up your locale. Even a single trash bag with the kids and a quick clean up of your local area would bode well for the environment. If you have children, this is a great way to get them involved in the community and help the earth at the same time. Mark your calendars for Earth Day!
- May 6th is Chamber Eve/Day. The absolutely fun time at the Chamber Day and Eve will go remote this year. We are still working on filling our normal tables and raising money for the Chamber as we do every year. We are currently at $6,120 raised and hope to continue to fill seats as we go forward. For those of you looking to help with that effort, click here!
- May 30/31 is the 2020 Scuba Show. This event was canceled unfortunately. It is a fun time where thousands of Southern Californians come together and take advantage of some amazing sales. But, you need not worry. Beach Cities Scuba is planning to offer amazing deals this year in our online environments just for you!! More to come on that!
- June 6 is the Newport Harbor Underwater Clean Up. Likewise, this event is canceled to help protect divers. But, like Earth Day, we would love to see families out on their beaches cleaning up if they are open by that time. If divers are available, what a great time to get out with a grab bag to pick up trash at your favorite dive site! Though the event is canceled, this is still an amazing time to get out and make a difference on our own environments!
Yes. We are in a unique time with unique changes to our daily lives. Those challenges are not impossible tasks and can easily turn into effective long-term habits for all of us. Who knows, maybe we can reduce the footprint of the common flu as well!
The virus is very transmissible and is easily spread between us humans. Talking, sneezing, coughing can cause droplets to land on another person. Therefore:
- Let's maintain that good distance between each other and keep each other safe!
- Be careful about putting your hands on surfaces and then touching your face.
- Get into the habit of washing those hands!
- Always keep your surfaces clean and sanitized!
Together, we can make a difference!
About the author:
D.J. Mansfield is a PADI Course Director who dives Southern California and has done so for 23 years. He is currently the Director of Operations for Beach Cities Scuba and is a committed ocean steward and trainer for divers all over the world.
Follow him on Instagram @djmansfield7or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.