To the editor:

President Trump extended the national shutdown on non-essential work and social distancing guidelines until April 30. Federal authorities are warning that the nation’s death toll from the Coronavirus could surpass 100,000.

Truly, this is a war. And the best way to fight it is to stay at home. 

Governor Gavin Newsom placed California under a “stay-at-home” order even before Washington acted on a national scale. Even so, Governor Newsom is echoing medical experts when he says California’s biggest surge in new cases will come in the next two to three weeks.

These stay-in-place orders are essential in our fight against COVID-19. That’s why virtually every county in the state - including Stanislaus - has issued its own stay-in­ place orders, shut down public buildings and asking that only those involved in essential tasks venture beyond their homes. The only way to slow the ravages expected at this stage of the pandemic is full compliance. 

Governor Newsom has said he wants to use social pressure rather than a wave of citations to enforce his stay-at-home orders. Though we know it’s painful, that’s why we are asking businesses and residents to voluntarily comply. 

I agree with this approach. Still, the law enforcement community of Stanislaus County, acting in concert with our elected officials and health experts, must do all that it can to foster that compliance. In some cases, we will be required to ask for compliance more vigorously. 

Our goal is not to be punitive, but to emphasize the necessity of this approach. This is the only way to protect both our residents and our essential workers. 

The good news is that we have seen almost 100 percent cooperation. Thank you! 

But please don’t take the lack of punitive measures as a license to ignore the guidelines. We will not permit anyone to jeopardize the safety of others. 

Every expert who has spoken on the situation says California is approaching the cusp of the crisis, with the worst yet to come. All of us must be ready and engaged to meet this challenge. 

This war isn’t some academic exercise or a video game. It is not a political campaign. It will not be won with secret weapons or wishing it away. We pray for miracles, but we must be prepared to win without one.

Experts suggest the crisis will be ebbing by June, but they warn a second wave of infection could follow if we are not careful now. Some say this could become a seasonal threat, confronting us every year. 

We need to comply with the state’s guidelines. We need to be disciplined. We need to help each other as much as we can. 

So, stay home. Talk with your neighbors, friends and families over the internet and on your phones. Check the county COVID-19 website, www.schsa.org/publichealth/pages/corona-virus for daily updates; dial 211 or visit https://stanislauscounty211.org on the web for more information. 

We’ve done well here in Stanislaus County, keeping our numbers down so far. I’m sure we will continue do whatever it takes to meet this challenge and stay as healthy as we can.