OPINION: Coronavirus: “We can, and need to, rise to the occasion.”

A letter to the editor by Laura Beverage of Medford, NJ

We are dealing with some of the worst of times with the coronavirus pandemic and associated illness, a plummeting stock market and financial fears, forced social distancing and even self-quarantining in some cases. We’ve had runs on hand soap and sanitizers, non-perishable food and water, and even toilet paper. And, yes….there are always the opportunists taking advantage of both hoarding and price gouging of these needed products, further exacerbating the desperation of people as we try and cope with the uncertainty and outright fear in some instances. These people represent the worst of humanity.

But, we also see the best of humanity in times like this. It’s shown in the food store, in the unrequested sharing of an essential item in one person’s cart carrying multiples of that item with someone else struggling to find just one of that item. It’s in the offers of assistance by neighbors to housebound or immune compromised neighbors in the bringing of food and other necessities, or even making a phone call so they will not feel so isolated. Social media “virtual friends” who may never have even met one another in person reach out when they hear of a need they may be able to assist with in a tangible sense, and just the aura of well being that comes from knowing that there are folks who hear you, see you and care about you and one another’s loved ones.

In the end, it is challenges like the one we are facing right now on a global level that remind us how important it is to flex our innate kindness, charity, empathy and compassion muscles to allow us to reset both our goals, and outlooks. In the end, we are all one people, living on this one planet. We can, and need to, rise to the occasion.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this letter are the author’s only.

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