Dealing with a Pandemic: We Are in This Together

Posted on: Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:00

When a community is devastated by a tornado or the ravages of war, people respond to the pain and destruction they see. With the current pandemic crisis, it is harder to actually see or perhaps more appropriately foresee the devastation. Yet, the need to act to support our community and nation is critical.

Each day we see local, state, and federal leaders impose more restrictions on us to prevent the spread of COVID 19. For people who are not yet sick with the virus or who see the relatively low numbers of Maryland residents infected, it may be hard to understand why they are being asked to make such significant sacrifices.

There is plenty of information showing why these measures are essential, but seeing a graph illustrating how we need to “reduce the curve” does not touch people emotionally. How do we help people understand the magnitude of what is at stake if our hospitals and medical facilities are overwhelmed? I think the message reached me when I saw the image of an Italian physician crying because he had to decide which of his patients got to be treated with the one ventilator he had left. I cannot imagine making a choice about who can live and who will likely die. This is why our leaders are asking us to sacrifice now, so that we do not overwhelm our healthcare facilities and no doctor has to make that kind of choice.

The sacrifices people are making are significant. There are people who are out of work. There are businesses that may not survive. There are students missing precious days in school. There are special events being canceled that may not be easily postponed or rescheduled. As one commentator noted, “every person has a story” about the disappointment and pain associated with the measures we as a society are taking.

Let’s remember why those sacrifices matter. The decisions our state leaders are making are designed to save lives. We are all being asked to work together to help save people’s lives. Right now, it may be hard to make that connection, but that is the goal—saving lives.