Record editorial: Living with the virus has revealed much about our community
Summit County by Tuesday was approaching an unnerving milestone: 700 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
Put into human terms, the number is striking. Though not everyone who has contracted the virus has fallen seriously ill — 53 cases in the county have required hospitalization and there has, astonishingly, been only one death — that’s 700 of our friends and neighbors whose lives have changed, in one way or another, with a phone call from health officials.
The figure also hammers home another point, albeit one that is apparent even without a large round number staring us in the face: We’ve been living with this pandemic for a while now.
As we pass the milestone, it’s worth looking back at what we’ve learned about ourselves in the four-plus months since the first case in the county was announced on an otherwise typical Wednesday in mid-March.
For one, we can be proud of the generosity our community has displayed in rallying around those hit hardest by the effects of the pandemic. Since the early days of the crisis, when it first became clear that people were going to lose their livelihoods, residents have stepped up, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to nonprofits — money that has put food on tables and kept the lights on for hundreds of families. The effort to protect our most vulnerable has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dark time.
The community’s resilience has also shined through. Despite the immense challenges the pandemic has presented, most people remain committed to making the sacrifices necessary to overcome it. In April, that meant staying home except for essential trips. Now, it also means wearing a mask in public and resisting the urge to return to normal life prematurely. While some have acted irresponsibly, the vast majority of Parkites continue to persevere.
We’re going to need both of those traits going forward. The unfortunate reality is that the pandemic is not disappearing anytime soon. The case number will keep growing, hitting additional troubling milestones along the way, and the economy will remain on shaky footing as we head into ski season in the late fall. Hard times await in the coming months.
Many of us are exhausted. We long for the day when our community is once again whole.
But we must stay the course. We’ve made it this far, and as the last several months have shown, we can get through this pandemic together.
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Our view: With lives still at stake, ensuring we don’t ease up on coronavirus restrictions prematurely is critical. It should be up to health experts, not politicians, to declare victory over the pandemic in our state.