Hello, I just spent several moments trying to turn on a light switch with my elbow.That might not have made much sense a few weeks ago, but this week I think many of us can relate. I’d like to avoid washing my red, chapped hands again, although I’ll have to wash them several more times before the day is done.
The smell of antibacterial hand wipes will forever be associated with the spring of 2020. It’s one of the surreal realizations I had during week two of our social isolation.
- Watching a video of a long snaking line of more than 200 elderly people waiting to enter Costco on Tuesday morning.
- An email from my orthodontist saying patients will now be videoing the inside of their mouths instead of coming in for appointments.
- Explaining to my 10-year-old that playgrounds are closing.
- Going to Rosauers to find most of the bulk food bins removed for sanitary reasons.
- Accepting that people are still hoarding toilet paper.
Those are just a few. There are many more. I’m sure you have your own, probably better than mine.
At the newspaper, reporters and editors are scrambling to cover the quickly changing circumstances and mitigate the damage of rumors spreading faster than COVID-19 on social media. Our newspaper will be affected as business slows and stores close. On the homefront, I’m trying to point my three kids toward productive homeschool activities, which aren’t very likely to happen with parents working 40 hours a week.
How are you and the people you know responding to this upheaval and uncertainty? Besides toilet paper, sales of guns and ammo reportedly are surging. Instead of buying guns, what if people donated that money to local domestic violence shelters? A rise in cases is expected with humans under stress confined together. Choices made now plant the seeds for our future.
There’s a saying: If you want to go fast, travel alone; if you want to go far, go together. This week’s 360 contains stories of people who are pulling together and thinking beyond self-preservation. Reporter Michelle Schmidt interviews restaurant owners about how carryout could help them survive and the agonizing decisions they’ve made in an attempt to preserve the jobs of as many employees as possible. In another story, librarians pivot to connect the community with online resources as access to physical materials shuts down. In Moscow, one man is working to bring a live open mic night to an audience at home through livestreaming. In his words: “I think what’s so cool is how many people are making the effort to figure this out, and that’s pretty special.”
Don’t believe what you see on social media. Its algorithms thrive on anxiety and despair. We’ll get through this by standing with each other, just stand 6 feet away from me, please.