As of May 19, 73 Mainers have lost their lives to COVID-19 and 1,741 have been infected by this virus. Despite the personal tragedies these numbers represent, our collective sacrifices over the last two months have successfully mitigated the coronavirus epidemic in Maine such that we largely avoided our hospitals being overwhelmed and scenes like those from Italy and New York City. As a direct consequence we now can allow more businesses to open and more people to return to their jobs with proper safety measures.

The ball is in our court as to whether we will continue to build on these gains and allow our economy to continue to reopen safely. It is up to each of us to take personal responsibility to help avoid a large second surge in the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths this summer, thereby requiring a return to business closures, job losses and sheltering at home.

We now know many of us may carry the virus despite not having symptoms, and can transmit it to others, making them ill. Will we accept the responsibility that goes with being in public and returning to restaurants, retail stores and the hairdresser or barber? It will require each of us to act like we care not only about our families’ health, but also the health of the person working behind the store counter, those in the grocery store checkout line with us, and our co-workers by wearing a face mask, social distancing and proper hygiene.

All of us would like more businesses to safely reopen and more family and friends to be able to return to work without risking becoming sick. To make that happen, and as the British said during World War II, we each “need to do our bit.”

 

George Seel

Belgrade


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