Letter: Reassured by response to virus by community

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To the Editor:

Early Saturday evening, I sat in my car on John Street in Hoosick Falls, waiting to pick up an online order from our favorite pizza place. A boy and his grandfather strolled by on the sidewalk, talking happily, the man's hand on the boy's shoulder. A small black puppy wriggled in the boy's arms, the puppy's new leash swaying at his side. A Norman Rockwell-worthy, small-town moment that put a lump in my throat, and gave me hope. On an abnormally quiet Saturday street, even for this small town, life was still good despite the coronavirus lockdown. Civility and cooperation were in the air.

My husband and I haven't been out much recently, but what we've seen has been mostly reassuring: small family groups out walking in the welcome sunlight of early spring, adhering to the strict rules of social distancing. Local businesses and patrons responsibly making the best of the new realities. There may be grumbling and skepticism as we process the impending economic impact of the shutdown, but overall, the community seems to be taking the crisis seriously. On the local social media pages I follow, I've been encouraged by the lack of ranting about "hoaxes" or the kind of unthinkably irresponsible idiocy displayed by drunk college students on spring break.

Instead, I've seen useful information and resources; offers of help; enthusiastic support for our valued local businesses; a rational community on both sides of our state line coming together to cope — from a safe distance.

It feels crazy for society to have shut down so completely, so quickly. But nobody wants to look back on this moment as a lost opportunity to have avoided the catastrophic consequences of defying urgent directives from every major health organization on the planet.

A single person can infect an entire village. The ferocious spread of the disease within one New Jersey family seems to have begun with one guest at a family reunion. The family matriarch and three of her children died in rapid succession; three other relatives remain hospitalized and nearly 20 more are in quarantine, mourning in isolation.

That won't be the last family tragedy we see, but it is largely up to us how many will be affected in our local communities, where health resources are already stretched so thin, and heroic health care teams take on unimaginable personal risk to rise to this challenge.

Robin Vaughan Kolderie,

Hoosick, N.Y.

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