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Bracing for the challenges yet to come

Today (April 7) the county reported its highest death toll of 12 people in a single day since the COVID-19 pandemic began. That’s 12 too many people. Horribly, I know that this number is going to climb at rates that none of us are ready to see. I also realize that due to lack of testing, the number of people currently infected is probably much higher. We need to brace ourselves.

Governments and experts agree that we will not see our peak of the pandemic until sometime in May. We are in this for the long haul. Unless the virus magically disappears, there is no short-term fix here. We must ride it out as carefully as we can. But we can’t give up and we can’t give in.

Measures we are taking now are working. It has helped flatten the curve — but we need to stay hunkered down now more than ever. The number of lives we can save now by maintaining these stricter measures that affect every aspect of our daily lives is worth it.

I’m scared too. My father-in-law is here at home in hospice care. My grandson was born last week a month early. I can hold him in one hand. And we as a family can’t stay completely isolated from each other because we need each other’s help to get through this. Because of these things we practice social distancing and protective measures at home as much as we possibly can. And my family is no different than yours in the fact that we are all vulnerable in some way or another, whether we are home alone or with a house full.

But I am an optimist, I have hope, and it is OK to be frightened. We should be. Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best is our best defense.

Fortunately, on social media people are finding creative ways to talk about anything COVID unrelated. They might seem silly and trivial, but letting your mind focus on something else is essential. As a person who spends his days reading and writing, this is a trend that I hope continues.

I love reading the success stories about the amazing people in our community who are doing whatever they can to help each other as we go through this together.

People staying at home are using their skills to make masks and face coverings for hospitals, small clinics and their neighbors. Businesses that are essential are helping their neighbors by selling their goods in their stores or restructuring their businesses to fit the needs of today and save their employees from losing a job. People are raising money to give gift cards to our local front-line defenders. People are getting through these days by helping others get through.

This is not new to us. Our communities have been doing this long before the pandemic, it’s just that now the purpose has shifted. And we can continue to do this together finding what we can do best as an individual or collectively. We have to be diligent to make sure we all do our part to make the impact of this epidemic as minimal as possible. But we can’t do anything if we don’t take care of ourselves first.

Take a break from the news. This is hard for me (it’s my job) as my CNN COVID-19 ticker is updating every minute with headlines and reports from around the world. It’s vital information but, trust me, after a day’s work of watching it as I work on other things, my brain is fried,and I can’t get what I’ve read out of my mind. When the day is done, I turn it off and do or watch something that will take my mind to another place, even if it is just for a little while.

Find what works for you and lower your daily stress level. We all have different responsibilities and needs.

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Source: East County Californian

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