Covid-19, the Corona virus, is bringing tough days to Americans.
In March, 90% of us reported in a public opinion survey that our personal lives had changed because of the Corona virus outbreak, 44% said in a major way.
By March 28, 10 million Americans had lost their jobs, and a week later, 10 million were applying for unemployment benefits as the economy ground to a halt in an effort to slow the pandemic. How are we coping?
We have lost jobs in restaurants, hotels, gyms, warehouses, department stores, manufacturing, transportation. Many of us are working from home, caring for children because the schools are closed, worrying about paying our bills, shopping for food because the restaurants are closed. So again, how are we coping?
We believe we are a nation of people who will work together in a crisis. Despite the toilet paper shortage, I see people patiently waiting in long lines outside supermarkets and warehouses. Where are the fistfights and riots? And wonder of wonders, this week everyone is making home-made masks, not to protect ourselves but to keep us from infecting others. The local news programs show the beaches, parks and outdoor hiking trails as deserted, now that we are asked to stay home.
A majority of Americans agree with these new measures that limit our freedom of movement and assembly. We agree that government measures are proper ways to ensure public safety in the face of the pandemic.
There is stress, especially among those of us who have lost jobs and who are facing uncertain financial times. Many are having difficulty accessing the help just legislated in Washington DC or finding it nearly impossible to file for unemployment benefits on line or by telephone. And our usual outlets, churches, social gathering places, outdoor exercise and just visiting one another have been placed off limits. How are we coping?
It has been disheartening to learn of anti-Asian incidents and the scapegoating of Chinese and Asian Americans, of increasing nervousness in the Asian community. In a site created to report racist incidents in California, there have been hundreds of reports, many coming from New York, New Jersey and Illinois. A whopping two thirds of the victims of these incidents were not Chinese at all.
The iconic children’s entertainer, Fred Rogers, famously said that in times of crisis “Look for the helpers.” And maybe that is how we are trying to cope…by helping keep the streets and gathering places clear, keeping our six feet of distance, staying home, making masks, taking care of our families, offering to help. There needs to be more done, especially by our legislators and public figures but we still seem to want to do what we can.
How are you coping? How are you helping?
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Kirk McConnell, “Struggling with Covid-19? Hang in There” and chalk on sidewalk.
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