Editorial: When everyone does it, it's huge
For most of us, these are unprecedented times. We’re witnessing a global pandemic that threatens thousands of lives, and is cratering the national and world economy — all in a matter of weeks. That’s an incredible change to absorb in such a short time. We will be reeling from this onslaught for the next several weeks, and judging by the experiences of Italy, France and Spain, it will keep getting worse long before it gets better.
But it will get better. As Annie sang in the depths of the Great Depression, the sun will come out tomorrow. Holding that optimistic thought, let’s catch our breath for a moment, put a pause on our internal panic and access where we are as a state and community.
Once Trump dropped his denial of the threat of this pandemic and belatedly declared a national emergency, the swift appropriation of aid and action has remarkable — mainly at the state and local levels. After Gov. Phil Scott declared a state emergency local hospitals ramped up much delayed testing, tracking and isolating potential carriers. We have a long way to go to make that process more effective, but give UVMHN/Porter Hospital credit for rushing a drive-through test side into action; give the town of Middlebury and Middlebury College credit for having emergency response teams ready to convert facilities at the college into more medical space when needed. Read the Letter to the Community on Page 2A from leaders of Middlebury College, UVMHN/Porter Hospital and the Town of Middlebury to realize how much is already happening to get the community and county through this crisis.
Add those preparations to our rural environment and we have the potential of slowing the spread of this coronavirus, at least within our immediate vicinity. We won’t be unscathed, but if we are diligent in our efforts, we stand a chance of avoiding the worst of a health care crisis that could take high tolls in some areas of the country.
So, buck up, friends and neighbors. We’re in for a rough ride. What should you do? Look for ways to help, of course, but another bit of good advice is this: Greet each morning with a mission to make your community better in one small way each day. Help a neighbor, call on a elderly acquaintance, smile more. You don’t have to do much to make a difference, but the fact that many of us are doing something will make it huge.