On Sunday night, I Zoom with my four siblings to share how we are all doing during the pandemic. All of us are doing alright except for at least one“but.” He/she seemed so healthy “but”…. My brother Bill is on a “think tank” committee for the Lehigh Valley to try and deal with where this “one in a hundred years catastrophe” is taking us.
The virus started to take effect four months ago. When it started I think most felt that this was bad but we wouldn’t lose more than 50,000 people, which is terrible but a typical flu season. And like the flu we would be back to normal in the summer. Those that knew history knew of the second wave in the 1918 influenza but wouldn’t we have a vaccine by then?
To our dismay, the results to date are that we have three times as many deaths as we thought and though the north east has some level of containment, Florida had more new cases in one day last week than all of Europe which has 20 times the population.
We tried to flatten the curve so the hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed and this week they started moving in refrigerated trucks to Houston Texas because the mortuaries have been overwhelmed. The polarization in our politics hasn't helped as we have somehow made wearing masks a political statement?
Then the idea of the states being responsible for how we respond with no clear strategy from Washington has 50 small experiments going on that is working well in a few states but a catastrophe in many. The US is 4.25 percent of the world’s population and about 25 percent of the reported COVID cases. By any measurement we aren’t handling it well. Chester County has more deaths (341) than the entire country of South Korea, with a population of over 50 million.
My concern is not where we are but where we are going. There is good news and bad news about that. The good news is pretty much all the scientific medical brains in the world are working on drugs to combat the virus and provide a vaccine. We are getting better at understanding the disease.
Thank god it doesn’t attack the kids but if you're in a nursing home look out, and Florida is pretty much one big nursing home. A few vaccines are in advanced testing stages and one or two of them are probably going to work. The problem is we are moving so fast. Will we put something out there that isn’t ready for prime time. And if we can’t get people to wear masks will we get them to submit to a new vaccine?
My guess is, if we are lucky, we will get close to 200,000 dead in the US before we can provide immunity and it will be next summer before we are close to “normal”. Whatever it is, the next president is going to have a miserable four years with double digit unemployment, everyone needing money and the left and the right not talking to each other. Homelessness will probably go through the roof. Let’s just hope we can work together to get our country back to being great.
As for Kennett, the experience is wearing on us. By Christmas time we will be pretty damn depressed. Let’s hope Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) has the best holiday turkey dinner distribution in it’s 60 years of looking after the community during the holidays. We need to be there for our community and make sure the safety net is alive and well.
That means no one goes hungry and we address the housing issues. KSCS has had a $75,000 annual budget for Emergency Assistance to help keep people in their homes. They have been spending as much as $30,000 a week during the pandemic. We need to keep helping organizations like KACS to do their jobs.
People are losing their jobs and their health care and we need to make sure they have the medical support they need. And last, we need to keep the kids moving forward in their education. The school districts have done a great job in getting broadband and computers out to the population that didn’t have access in the past. But we need to get better at managing the distance learning process and making sure the kids are learning. We can do that and add resources in the future to ensure each child catches up to what they have missed.
Advice for us? Our neighbors lost their grandfather last month and my wife was able to provide a meal for the family as they had to deal with a social distanced funeral. They really appreciated the effort and I ask you to take the time to be your brother’s keeper. We are all in this together and it shall pass, but don’t forget to social distance, wash your hands and wear the damn mask. .
The Story of Kennett may be purchased on Amazon and at the Mushroom Cap or Resale Book Shoppe in Kennett. You can contact Bob at Georgert@gmail.com.