Coming together during a time of crisis

by James Richard Johnson
March 24, 2020 1:00 AM

Well, here we are as a nation brought together (but, please don’t come together) going through extreme rules and regulations never seen in my lifetime, except perhaps in the 1950s when my mother had polio and our house was quarantined, as we try to control the threat of conoravirus. To me, it is almost like somewhere in the world a bomb had been set off and we are trying to avoid radiation. (I know, this is a way exaggerated comparison)

Thankfully, this is a virus which has about only a five percentile chance of proving fatal, usually with those who have respiratory difficulties already. Even just before this paper goes to press, there will likely be more states and cities which will close down restaurants and bars and even gathering places which involve more than 10 individuals at a time.

On the farther downside, there will be hoarders, and probably backlash in some areas from people who do not want to stay home or accept curfews at night.

The most difficult part for most Americans, however, is all the “hunkering down at home” directives that go against many of the principles that America has always stood for. We have always been a nation which rises to the occasion whenever there has been a threat to our nation or any other.

The underlying strength of our country is that we stand up and fight. We always have come together and faced any aggression. For most of us, in a worldwide threat, we volunteer to help. Now we are asked to stay home ... and do nothing.

The news that I have read indicates that there are 327 million people in the United States, but that we have only about 90,000 full ventilator pieces of equipment and about 70,000 intensive care beds. It is recommended that people who believe they might have the coronavirus to not go to hospitals, but rather first talk with their doctor. (Perhaps their doctor is easier to get a hold of than mine at the VA hospital.)

There are only a limited number of testing kits and, most importantly, one who does not have this virus is more likely to be exposed to it when they go to a hospital. Why use up a bed based on symptoms when the few available are needed for those who actually have the coronavirus?

Just now as I write, it has been announced that the U.S. military will offer most of its ventilators for civilian use. I am sure cruise ships in ports may be asked to give up beds, if needed, and serve as “hospital ships.

Of big concern, one would think, is if we have enough trained people to properly take care of people in those beds

But the greatest concern, if one doesn’t include the loss of lives due to the coronavirus, is the economic effect on this nation and the rest of world. Employees of small business may be laid off, possibly nationwide. Most restaurants likely operate month to month as far as how their cash flow is handled.

Knowing the strength of this nation that I have seen in my more than 70 years (including serving in Vietnam) I believe six months from now the pundits will look back and say: “Well, we may have over-reacted, but we took care of those citizens who needed financial help. It looks like America is back on her feet. And the economy is looking pretty strong now.”

For myself, all I will be able to say is, “Well, my. That was sure one for the history books.”