Nation unified in confronting COVID-19 epidemic

In his letter to the editor Steve Farina writes: "This is our opportunity to show each other our true sense of community."

To the editor:

As COVID-19 continues to make its impact on our society, there is an amazing realization happening right here in this here-to-fore politically divided United States of America. At the urging of the president, the response to this potentially devastating widespread infection is bringing together of government infrastructures, businesses, and individuals – even political adversaries. This level of cooperation is nothing short of amazing.

Mitigation of this large-scale problem seems to be best dealt with on both the macro and micro levels. To this end, we also hear of people “self-quarantining” and “social distancing.” These are not easy choices for individuals to make – especially given our unique sense of freedom in this country. Yes, there are laws in place for the government to use extraordinary measures. We are seeing a few cases in isolated places. While this is a slippery slope regarding our freedoms, it also presents an opportunity for our communities to pull together and coalesce around the necessary steps – preferably without government enforcement.

Many of our local and national businesses are stepping up by allowing “work-from-home” options and cancelling non-essential travel. Major sports leagues are taking huge financial losses by cancelling events, and even complete seasons. Our cable and cell service providers are making concessions on data throughput and billing. Insurance companies are waiving co-pays. Medical schools, lab companies and testing facilities, pharmaceutical companies and the medical industry in general are working together with government agencies to expedite testing, identification and finding a preventative solution.

In the meantime, individuals are taking steps to proactively stop the spread of this potentially deadly disease. We are being vigilant in the use of handwashing and disinfecting surfaces. Some are wearing masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment. Nobody wants to catch, or spread, this.

Here in South County it seems that many of our 2nd homeowners are coming to the area. It makes sense as schools and businesses are closed all over the place and we offer a generally less dense population center. However, combine this with our year-round residents and the demands on our infrastructure are being tested.

This is our opportunity to show each other our true sense of community. While our local supermarkets and other stores are doing their best to keep up with demand – especially of toilet paper, sanitizers, and dry goods – it is imperative that we all maintain that sense of community. This is not a time for gluttony. It is a time to ensure you meet the needs of your family. Let’s find the balance of that and continue to share in the fact that we are all in this together.

Steve Farina

Great Barrington