When COVID strikes home, things change


October 7, 2020

I actually had planned to write about newspapers for this week’s edition.

After all, as should have been obvious in the last couple of issues, this week is National Newspaper Week.

And there’s a lot I could talk about regarding newspapers, because as the writer notes in the column we’ve printed on page 5, this newspaper and all newspapers are under threat in today's world.

But my focus changed when the coronavirus arrived in Sweet Home.

I say that somewhat facetiously because we all know that COVID-19 has already been here, in at least 15 recognized cases through last week and, possibly, many more than that.

As we report starting on page 1, the number in our zip code has increased by at least five in the last week and one of the newest ones was someone I actually happen to know.

I confess that when I didn't personally don’t know anyone who’s had the virus, and the numbers don’t grow significantly, it’s been harder to take it all as seriously as we probably should.

I think we'd all agree that this has been a turbulent year, complicated not just by circumstances such as fires, cancellations, etc., but by the seemingly constantly changing advice and rules from the authorities.

But part of the uncertainty with COVID stems from the fact that it's an invisible threat, sort of hypothetical: “I don’t want my elderly relative to get this, so I’m going to (fill in the blank) to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Easy to say, but when, month after month, no one you know gets sick, and very few cases are popping up locally, well... the mask might just stay off when you visit Grandma.

Santiam Feed Store - across from the Sweet Home Post Office

When the victims have names that you recognize, though, COVID gets a lot more real.

Obviously, I know one of the more current victims really well, since we worked together for 15 years.

I’m an optimist, a glass-half-full type. So I’m not going to turn paranoid because I know someone who contracted COVID. But I don't think I'm a fool. And as it appears Sweet Home’s coronavirus numbers are rising, I think it's wise to re-up the precautions to make sure that we don’t get it and that, if we happen to be one of the asymptomatic fortunates, we don’t pass it on.

Yeah, masks are a bummer. I personally detest them. I detest a lot of things about COVID and how things have played out.

However, I also recognize that none of us wants to get sick. And some of these irritations may be necessary to stay healthy and keep others healthy - and keep your newspaper going strong. If our staff were to run afoul of this bug, it would be very difficult to produce The New Era while being quarantined.

I really believe that some of those who have suffered the most from this are kids, especially those in unstable family situations. And I personally am willing to take steps not only to make sure the rest of us stay healthy, but that their circumstances improve as quickly as possible. Because this isn't good for them – at all.


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