Letters: How will COVID-19 change us?

Johnson City Press • Apr 5, 2020 at 6:00 AM

With our Question of the Week, we asked readers how they believed the novel coronavirus pandemic will change our lives. Here are some of the answers we received.

Change can be good

Our daughter works the trauma bays in an Ohio emergency department. We sit here in Johnson City praying protection over her and others we know who are risking their lives with earnest bravery. She said “this is going to change everything” and immediately her words rang true. Here are my thoughts:

Au Naturel: Our hair will grow longer and wilder, you’ll see some women admit their lovely grays. Cooking breakfast for dinner, substituting ingredients creatively with what’s still in the pantry, thawing things long solid in the back of the freezer — this is all good.

Create some sense of order. You’ve likely seen posts about setting up some kind of daily structure. We’ve already cleaned up the attic, the garage, and several drawers. We’ve discovered a few useful things, and are gathering a pile of stuff — this is all good.

We’re relying on many years of learned prayer. We’re teaching others the basics from a distance. Many are realizing the need for effective access before God for the first time in their lives. Just as a basic thing like toilet paper has sudden currency, so now is true prayer — this is all good.

One thing I’ve prayed for is clarity. You’ve seen your own examples of selflessness vs. mean stupidity. Good vs. manifested Evil comes clearer; and though both will remain present with us to the end, our response to both is clarifying. And there are sure promises available for present peace and victory over death for any seeking what is now essential. This is clarity; but it has come with great and very sobering cost.

So, I look out at my budding redbud tree, set in front of Buffalo Mountain’s hazy blue, and offer response to the Maker of renewing beauty, that too is a promise.

Johnson City

Pause religious services

Tri-Cities residents are just beginning to feel the effects of a deadly pandemic and, like many others, I’m nervous.

We have to do everything within our power individually and as a community to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This means accepting that our daily routines are not supposed to be “normal.”

We are in a fight for our lives, a battle that some of those dearest to us will lose.

Unfortunately, we have reached the point where it is no longer safe or acceptable to hold public gatherings to honor our dead. Most obituaries now wisely include a statement about either not holding a memorial service, or scheduling one at a later date.

However, there are still people — perhaps grieving family members too upset to think clearly — who are inviting members of the public to an event that could potentially take their lives. That any funeral home or church would allow such services to be conducted under their roof in this time of crisis is unconscionable. I propose that a legal ban is needed immediately.

Johnson City

A turn toward science

For sure, the pandemic will change us. Recently as I drove through the exquisitely beautiful zone between Johnson City and Erwin, with redbud blooms so abundant I felt comfort in nature’s reliable cycle, without denying the clear scientific evidence for climate change.

I’d like to believe that the current pandemic may at least restore emphasis on science, and cause us to take a hard look at the baffling success and motives of those who’ve persuaded too many Americans to become science deniers. It’s fitting that Rush Limbaugh types and the FOXNews organization now fear possible class-action lawsuits for deliberately misleading listeners about coronavirus health risks, while they personally observed medically prescribed precautions. Unlike with climate change, repercussions from this delay and denial of medical science have hit with shocking speed, threatening to overwhelm our capacity to deal with consequences.

Last time I grocery shopped, with flour and noodles still plentiful on the shelves, I overheard a customer say she wasn’t worried, that it was “all a Democrat hoax to hurt the president.” The same language Trump was ignorantly and arrogantly using while critical weeks passed. These months should call us to reshape expectations for effective leadership and our tolerance for unfit self-serving governance.

First year in office, Trump found the White House task force on pandemic preparedness “unnecessary,” leaving the hollowed out administration woefully unprepared for the essential coordinated response on a national level. The world now witnesses a rudderless America with first-affected areas already floundering. Over-long daily press briefings seem mostly designed to showcase a president who often as not confuses and misleads.

Scars will be deeper for our mistakes. But for now much selfless heroism abounds, modeling the America we must be, now and after, individually and as a whole.


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