New Year’s Eve I stood on the streets of New York City and along with over a million others, watched the ball drop in Times Square.
A once in a lifetime event I’ve had the privilege to experience twice.
I snuck outside my hotel minutes before midnight while others were willing to stand for hours in the freezing cold, believing it was worth the wait. A bucket list moment we all talk about doing, but rarely make happen.
It’s a truly phenomenal feeling. To stand side-by-side that many souls, all gazing towards a cherished event that marks a universally important moment.
For a brief time we were all connected. Sharing a longing, a belief and an impassioned plea that the coming year will bring all we wish it to be. For that night, in one voice, we counted down to a fresh start and a new beginning. The energy and synergism was palpable. It’s a memory I’ll cherish forever and a brief but powerful connection I’ll never forget.
Walking the streets of Times Square and the breathtaking city itself I was awed by its power and brilliance, surrounded by a crowd from all over the world, equally enthralled by its beauty.
As this year has enfolded I am shocked, overwhelmed and devastated by the incredible turn of events. Like a bad horror film I’m sure every morning I’ll awaken to realize it’s just a bad dream and life hasn’t changed. It’s still the same mundane one I took for granted months ago. But like everyone else, the horrible reality breaks through my fervent denials and the truth is impossible to ignore.
The world has changed.
The streets of Times Square are no longer crowded with revelers, gawking visitors and jaded New Yorkers. Now it lies barren, her streets a vast wasteland, empty and alone.
While humanity desperately struggles to survive.
Because that’s what we do, we survive.
We dig deep, we do what’s required and we survive.
The horrifying question now is, at what price?
Now is the time to join together as a country and support each other. Not by the usual means- in restaurants, bars, religious organizations, rallies, theaters, events, and each other’s homes. But in our hearts and minds with one unified purpose- by keeping our distances, maintaining impeccable hygiene, shielding our coughs and sneezes, reaching out to those alone to make sure they’re safe and connecting with our neighbors and loved ones.
By remembering that common pens, gas pumps, ATM and credit card machines put us all at risk.
By not ignoring our underlying health care which is imperative to keeping us healthy and better able to fight off illnesses.
By staying home if you’re sick but still turning to your healthcare provider. The majority of the time it’s something treatable- bronchitis, sinusitis, allergies, influenza, and not the coronavirus. Don’t ignore concerns out of fear. I had one elderly woman fearful to be seen when she had trouble breathing, it was acute heart failure. Another patient was sure stress due to current issues was causing his memory issues, when it was really a stroke. These can’t be diagnosed over a computer. They require a face to face to evaluation. We are all scared but do not ignore your symptoms out of fear .
By showing gratitude and appreciation for those willing to serve our needs, even at the risk of their own welfare.
By not hoarding staples we all require.
Our hearts break for those who have passed and those destroyed by this disease. A microscopic enemy we can’t see, hear, touch or smell.
It knows no boundaries.
It doesn’t discriminate against age, religion, politics, opinions, education, wealth, ethnicity, borders, nationality, or sexual preferences. We are all equally impacted and equally its prey.
Only together, united in one goal with unerring diligence and perseverance can we stop its relentless progress.
As with any war we must have a plan of action that guides and directs the troops effectively. We must have all armaments at our disposal and ready to use as they are needed. Without mercy we must track it down, cordon it off and eradicate it.
Without unlimited tests, life saving equipment and proper protection we’ll just keep floundering. When I hear statistics claiming upwards of 250,000 lives may be lost in the best scenario, I’m horrified.
Those aren’t just numbers, they’re our parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, partners, children, friends, family, and co-workers. We are all affected. This is our new reality. This is our future.We are the greatest country in the world with the worst response and most deaths to date!
We must have a clear and decisive response that precisely and surgically excises this virus. Every day we wait, each day that passes, people will die.
We have never seen an enemy we couldn’t overcome when we fought it together. Together we will all see another tomorrow.