The Key Peninsula has something to cheer about in the middle of this nightmare. We survived the first wave of a global pandemic while navigating the uncertainties of a new world. The “stay home, stay healthy” order signed by Gov. Jay Inslee went into effect midnight March 25 and is set to expire May 4. In communities statewide most of us complied with recommended public health guidelines to reduce the rapid spread of COVID-19. The great news is that we were remarkably effective. We each experience the impact of the coronavirus from a unique perspective. But no matter who we are, regardless of our physical or financial circumstances, the desire to return to some semblance of normal is universal. While the pandemic delivered a huge blow to the global economy, for Americans it also exposed how close to the financial edge a huge portion of small businesses and citizens were already. Most of us retreated into home and family life, comforted by rediscovering the joys of spending quality time together. Many questioned the wisdom of their once busy schedules. Overwhelmed by endless news cycles, we abandoned our screens in self-preservation by taking solace in nature instead. Keep the faith, feel the love that surrounds you, call out when you need help. We began working remotely from home, some for the first time. Others never stopped working the front lines. First responders, health care workers, grocery store employees, pharmacy clerks and many others at essential businesses showed up ready and willing to develop new habits to keep the doors open to take care of us. Nonprofit social service organizations adapted to assure seamless services to people in need of support. Food for children, seniors and anyone suffering food insecurity continues without disruption. All of our food banks are open. The Key Peninsula News is alive and well thanks to a dedicated staff and many volunteers who donate their time to produce and distribute it, even now. None of it would be possible without the local advertisers, underwriting support and generous financial contributions from readers like you who stand by us as we try to stand by you. Meanwhile, employees in industries and businesses abruptly shuttered by the pandemic found themselves scrambling to remain above water in this time without income. Parents with children at home are beginning to adjust to life without school, often learning from and with their children, adapting to online education. The coronavirus changed all the rules of the game. The last month has proven we are better together by staying apart, until it’s safe to do otherwise. The need to begin reopening businesses and get people back to work is the subject of great national and local debate. Washington unemployment claims are expected to surpass the one million mark, with roughly 15 percent unemployment in the state, before May begins. The decision to shut down their state economies was a difficult choice for governors across the country. Governors now face the gut-wrenching dilemma of how to reopen their respective states for business without reigniting infection rates. Absent the level of widespread testing and contact tracing needed to monitor the spread of COVID-19 effectively, reopening has been likened to flying an airplane without an instrument panel. Without any treatment for COVID-19, what we’ve experienced so far was our big wake-up call — a drill for challenges that lie ahead, as public health experts warn the coronavirus outbreak may worsen with the arrival of fall. The stay home, stay healthy order was viewed by some as an affront to civil liberty, an assault on faith, even an attempt to weaken Second Amendment rights. But a new Crosscut/Elway Research poll of 405 registered Washington voters, conducted April 18 to 20, found “76 percent of voters believe the pandemic restrictions are working, and 61 percent are concerned about lifting them too soon.” The long-term health consequences for survivors of COVID-19 remain unknown. Experts warn that the coronavirus is nothing like seasonal influenza. Doctors are seeing evidence that COVID-19 attacks not only a patient’s lungs, but the heart, kidneys and brain. The World Health Organization warns there is insufficient evidence at this time that antibodies produced by survivors provide immunity. When we view the pandemic through the clouded lens of political ideology and polarized partisan politics, we put each other at risk. This plague, this scourge known as COVID-19, is our common enemy and it’s going to take all of us working together to defeat it. Keep the faith, feel the love that surrounds you, call out when you need help. We proved in classic KP fashion that we can do this better together, even while circumstances keep us apart.
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