At the beginning of this week, here was a question posed to a small group to consider:
When are sacrifices, restrictions and limited personal freedoms a good thing?
The general response was when those are for the greater good as well as one’s own well-being. In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis everyone is affected by extreme health practices that include closing schools and businesses, cancelling public gatherings, social distancing and individual good health practices. Much of the world has been affected beyond the health issues with hits to the economy, trade, employment, and family life turned upside down.
Those who are younger than 75, born since 1945, have no personal recollection of World War II. As a child (born in 1937) I recall that time when the United States shifted into a different mode where everyone accepted the need to pull together around a common purpose and common goals. There were blackouts at night, curfews, rationing of many food items and gasoline, people turning to Victory gardens and growing their own food. Manufacturing transitioned to making war machinery and supplies.
It was even more extreme in the U.K. that suffered the blitz of German bombing for 8 months. Children were evacuated to other countries; families were separated and the damage to buildings was extensive. In spite of the underground being used as bomb shelters, more than 67,000 civilians were killed and 382,000 in the military. The United States ultimate sacrifice of the military totaled 407,000. Lest we forget!
There are obvious differences between war and disease although both are deadly and affect individuals and families by the devastating loss of loved ones. There are different sources and causes, different ways of coping and managing. What is similar is that we are called upon to step up to the challenge and respond in order to combat the “enemy” which in the current crisis is the disease. Remember this too. A crisis is a crossroads and the time to make strategic decisions that will shape the future.
A massive threat requires a massive response. That is why all three entities – governments, private enterprise and individual citizens – need to work together around a common purpose and common goals. It is now time for the common or community response.