These are anxious times, without question. The drumbeat from online and traditional sources of coronavirus news, information, advice and speculation — much of it important and essential, but, regrettably, not all of it accurate or trustworthy — can be overwhelming, worrisome (if not scary) and dispiriting. Yet there are silver linings to be found in the dark cloud currently hovering over us, and we should not lose sight of them.
Indeed, we’d like to take note of them from time to time in this space by highlighting those whose efforts help this region cope with the public health, social distancing and economic challenges in the time of COVID-19. Given the long tradition of neighbors and communities pulling together in difficult times, it’s no surprise there are so many who deserve the region’s gratitude, but we’d like to start with some of those who are most noticeably on the front lines.
First, of course, this means the doctors, nurses and medical professionals and staff at the area’s hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other elder-care and specialty facilities, who have been preparing for the virus’s arrival in the area and must care for those who contract it. The hope is of course that there won’t be many, but inspiring and heartening indeed is their commitment to providing care despite the frightening concern playing out elsewhere in the country that a surge of COVID-19 patients may outstrip the supply of ventilators and protective equipment to care for victims and keep caregivers safe. No doubt many of us have at some time or another had frustrations in their dealings with the health care system, but the dedication of the region’s health care providers as they man the front lines of the coronavirus battle is not only admirable, but essential to meeting the public-health challenge.
Also taking on additional risk are the region’s first responders — the police and other law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and ambulance personnel. They, of course, have always deserved admiration just for having signed up to be prepared as part of their jobs to face risky and dangerous situations. Now, though, they must also respond to any situation bearing the added risk of exposure to an invisible virus.
And we’d also single out, for now, some of the region’s essential-needs workers whose jobs enable the rest of us to get our food, pharmaceuticals and other supplies — the grocery and convenience store workers, pharmacy staffs, and postal and parcel delivery service folk. Although their work environment may be more controlled than that of, say, first responders, the personal interaction their jobs require doesn’t always allow for ideal social distancing from the many individuals they encounter daily. Not only should we appreciate their service in meeting our essential needs, but let’s also be mindful of giving them adequate space to do their jobs as safely as possible.
As mentioned, recognizing those above is but a start in singling out the many who are owed thanks. But as you encounter health care workers, first responders and essential-needs workers, we’d urge letting them know that the entire region is grateful to them in this challenging time. They probably won’t expect it, but they certainly deserve it.