Much has changed since my last publisher’s note. Our City of Roanoke was vibrant, people walking everywhere, businesses open to customers and our children were getting off the school bus daily. I was planning our fifth-year anniversary with staff and thinking how blessed and fortunate I am.
Now, a month later, the world seems to have performed a 180-degree turn. School has been canceled for the remainder of the year. Many businesses are closed, and people are confined to homes. The only folks allowed to work are those employed at businesses classified as essential – grocery, pharmacy, etc. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our world so drastically that many wonder if we will ever know it the way it was before this scourge hit. People are dying at an alarming rate throughout the nation. Deaths are happening in our city and surrounding areas as the virus spreads and penetrates many communities. This is a serious health crisis and as such we all must take it seriously and be diligent in our efforts, making sure that not only do we protect ourselves, but our loved ones as well.
When COVID-19 made its way to our community, some of our citizens cracked jokes about it and began creating memes. What’s frustrating, truly frustrating, is that a high number of our citizens is still gathering in groups after our government, both state and federal, have requested that we self-distance to help prevent the spread of the virus.
With the recent rise in deaths in our country and the prediction that the virus will continue to spread, we must be diligent in following the guidelines in order to protect our own health and the health of family members. Communities of color have been the hardest hit, especially African Americans. I am appealing to all, requesting that you adhere to guidelines. Avoid touching your face, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds under warm soapy water, self-distance yourselves at least six feet and make sure you carry and use sanitizer at all times.
There is not enough gratitude we can bestow upon our health care workers who continue the show up to work in contaminated environments to provide healthcare to those suffering with the virus. I ask God’s blessings for each of them.
I believe in the strength and perseverance of our cities, communities and the greater nation. We are at a low point, but we will rise like a phoenix soon as we restart our country.
Stay blessed and be well. I will see you on the other side of this tragedy.