The world has seen catastrophes before, but the COVID-19 crisis has shaken us, filled many of us with fear, despair, and loss. This latest strain of the Corona Virus has caused a worldwide pandemic with more than 200-thousand deaths and nearly 3-million confirmed cases. In the United States alone we’ve lost over 52-thousand people and have more than a million confirmed cases.
Many American families have sheltered in place, schools are closed and many businesses shuttered (at least for now). The emotional toll of isolation, the insecurity of an income to pay day-to-day bills, and the surreal recordings of precautions intermingled with encouragement in the grocery stores have left scars on our psyche. Essential workers often keep themselves away from their spouses and children to ensure they don’t bring the virus through their own front doors. First responders such EMTs and Paramedics, Firefighters, Police Officers, and healthcare workers like nurses and doctors are overworked, overstressed, getting sick themselves and sometimes desperate to see an end even if it means taking their own precious lives.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.
As bleak as it may seem, we are hoping for some light — The National Institutes of Health are coordinating worldwide research on both the treatment and development of a vaccine to fight COVID-19. Scientists and doctors are collaborating and combining research and statistics to find the best defense against this disease. Across the United States there are many reports of “the flattening curve” that show that #StayAtHome, Social Distancing, and the use of masks and gloves are helping. There are encouraging news reports about the human spirit, about helping to feed each other, applauding the efforts of essential workers, and families finding ways to stay in touch through the internet and phone lines. Several states are beginning to SLOWLY and CAUTIOUSLY open their businesses and other resources while monitoring all results and asking folks to continue using personal protective equipment and social distancing.
Many of us have become stronger, we’ve developed more interaction within our households, and we’ve found creative ways to keep on living as normally as possible. Teachers have stepped up to continue teaching their students through emails, video-chats and even singing drive-bys. Mom or Dad, or both, have stayed connected and learned to work from home. Several doctors have made use of telemedicine to check in on patients without any exposure to possible contaminants. Some of our leaders have stepped up to keep us informed with accurate facts, guidance and useful information to help our families through these days.
The world has changed and I doubt it will ever go back to the way it was before. Many of us will have learned a new respect for ALL of our essential workers, a respect that hopefully will stick with us even in better times. There will come a day when we can “hug” our loved ones that we haven’t seen for months, but we will also be more aware of safe practices with every contact.
Things WILL improve, but for now we all need to do our part. Even if you are allowed to return to work as we open our states again, keep that social distancing and personal protective gear in play. Continue frequent hand washing, sneeze into your elbow or tissues which you can properly dispose of, and keep wiping down surfaces that are frequently touched. Do it all now and help to flatten the curve, and do it later to remain healthy and strong.
I wish you all health, happiness and the (soon) ability to spend time with family and friends.