March 18, 2020

A COVID-19 PSA from Four Quarters InterFaith

coronavirus dark 1200x800Virus visualization. Courtesy Center for Disease Control | COVID-19 at cdc.gpv.

Here at Four Quarters we have been tracking COVID-19 epidemiology and policy developments closely, with official guidance developing daily. Current policy thinking is that COVID-19 will reach peak infection in the USA during the next 4 to 6 weeks, and begin to subside in late May. Whether there will be following waves is unknown. Four Quarters will enthusiastically cooperate with national policies of containment, noting recent CDC guidance limiting group sizes to below fifty persons, and especially the recently released Imperial College London Report to be found here.
      For these reasons we are now cancelling all events and Moon Services at Four Quarters until the Summer Solstice weekend of June 20th, which will mark the re-opening of camp with Sweat Lodge, Stone Circle Ceremony and a Community Feast. Registrations for both Beltaine and Fires Rising offer full refund or credit by calling our office. The best epidemiological projections at this time are that these events and Drum & Splash, BigDub, Honcho and Stones Rising will remain unaffected, but that can change.

        Any epidemiologist will tell you that education is the single greatest defense against infection. We are well known for pro-active efforts with our "Health and Happiness" classes and printed materials. These are being updated for COVID-19, and classes will be held for everyone attending our events.
        Our current understanding is that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through respiratory aerosols, secondarily by surfaces; it first infects throat tissues before moving to lungs and the onset of symptoms. First symptom is typically a slightly sore throat, prior to other flu-like symptoms such as fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.
         The primary defense against infection is to increase social distance by avoiding confined enclosed spaces with a high density of people, and maintaining a 6 foot personal social distance. Non-clinical grade face masks are largely ineffective in public settings, but clinical grade masks are essential for health care providers in close contact with patients.
          Second line of defense is hand-washing with pure soap, as soap destroys the outer lipid shell of the COVID-19 virus. In public avoid any contact from your hands to your face between hand washings or hand sanitizing. A weak chlorine and pure soap solution is a highly effective surface and hand sanitizer.
        We have non-contact infrared body temperature scanners in sufficient quantity to scan larger groups, we have stockpiled chlorine solution and we have acquired backpack large area sprayers. When we travel off property we wash and spray our hands with soapy chlorine solution, as well as any automotive surface we touch, BEFORE returning home. We perform this procedure on all visitors and cooperation has been enthusiastic. We will also perform this with all attendees at our events.

      The disease primarily threatens older people, especially if they have other serious health conditions. We are an older community and at risk because of our open-door policies. Accordingly we have instituted "shelter-in-place" protocols here at Four Quarters; and we suggest you do the same in your home. Contrary to popular rumor, the single greatest vector of transmission is the people with whom you share your home, and visitors to your home. The very place and people with whom we feel the safest, pose the greatest threat. We will watch the emerging science closely to understand any other measures that should be taken for at-risk groups.

             “Oh, but you must travel through those woods again and again... said a shadow at the window... and you must be lucky to avoid the wolf every time...   But the wolf... the wolf only needs enough luck to find you once.”
             ― Emily Carroll, Through the Woods

        In short COVID-19 is a wolf of which very little is known at this point. It is now a global epidemic; we are all in this together as the wolf recognizes no class or background. Be sensible and cautious, but not fearful; educate yourself well and we will all pull through this together.