We are just at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis that has arrived in our country, our towns and our families. While there are still those who think the crisis has been blown out of proportion, if you’ve been studying the numbers and evolving data, you’ll see that the worst is ahead of us.
That’s because as testing increases sharply, more positive cases will be found. Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimates that some 23% of those infected will need hospitalization. Simple math tells us a surge in numbers will overwhelm the health care system, which has only so many hospital beds and ICUs. Accordingly, Peconic Bay Medical Center has ordered tents, which could be set up as MASH-style field hospitals to house the newly infected. Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital is going in the same direction.
That’s the reason so many of us are hunkered down at home, working remotely if possible and taking care of our families. It’s the reason schools and businesses are closed, and people are being told to keep a good six feet away from each other and avoid gathering in groups of more than 10.
Church services have been suspended, which is incredible because this is the season of Lent and Easter is around the corner. It will break the hearts of the faithful if they cannot be in church on Easter Sunday, the greatest day in the Christian calendar.
What is so reassuring to see is how North Fork residents are handling this. We are a community, with strong ties uniting us. We care about our hamlets and the businesses within them, and we want them to ride this out and be there when we emerge on the other side. This is an editorial not about the crisis, but how good it is that we are there for each other, even from six feet away.
Schools are still feeding children who need that meal each day; restaurants are allowing customers to call in, order food with a credit card and pick it up — and still observe the social distancing rules. Last Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, some restaurants made sure people could pick up an order of corned beef and cabbage for their families. That’s pretty great.
It is perhaps tiresome to hear people say, “We will get through this,” again and again — but we will.
As for the doctors, nurses, ambulance crews, firefighters, police officers and all those who put themselves at risk to help others, not thinking of themselves — the sort of people who run into burning buildings to save lives — we leave you with the words of Winston Churchill: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Say amen, somebody.