Editorial, 5/28: Virus forces us to examine whole community

Editorial, 5/28: Virus forces us to examine whole community

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Coronavirus Outbreak

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, gray, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. 

Statistics guide us. They provide a path toward understanding, a bridge to comprehension. In these uncertain times, analytical thinking is more necessary than ever.

There's knowledge to be gleaned from the revelation that racial and ethnic minorities comprise more than two-thirds of the Lancaster County's positive coronavirus tests.

Unfortunately, the mere mention of ethnicity or skin color these can create uncomfortable conversations, but without discussion we lose an opportunity to strengthen our community.

For example, Prosper Lincoln has used data and productive discussions to identify key areas where we can improve the quality of life for all in Lincoln by helping the most vulnerable. COVID-19 has cast into relief another way hardships hit the community unevenly.

It would be far too simplistic and downright lazy to attribute COVID's racial impact solely on the meatpacking industry, which employs a lot of minorities and low-income workers.

There are pockets of Lincoln that have been hit harder by the virus than others, and it's not what one does for a living that is the root cause.

The real reason COVID-19 hits different groups at different rates could be as simple as information and how messages are communicated.

With the novel coronavirus, information and expert analysis have changed dramatically from the outset. A lot of information has been thrown our way and much of it has evolved and rendered useless what we knew weeks or even days ago.

Does anyone else remember when face masks were deemed unnecessary or hand-washing was our first line of defense?

Keeping up with it all has been challenging for everyone -- and impossible for many families without the time, the means or the technology to stay of top the latest developments.

For many, their places of worship are clearinghouses for information, and important information is exchanged amid the personal relationships built there. When those places of worship closed -- for very good reasons -- a side effect was that some folks were cut off.

And for all the creative ways houses of worship reached out electronically, some people, inevitably, got lost in the shuffle.

Of course, the responsibility to educate and inform doesn't fall only to churches. The city and the state have used a variety of avenues to get crucial information out to the public. Without sounding self-promotional, the Journal Star has offered all of its coronavirus-related coverage for free online.

But we must all learn from the shortcomings in our efforts to disseminate information. The hard facts bear out that we need to do more.

After all, as a community, we're only as healthy as the least-healthy person with whom we mingle. We have a duty to look after everyone -- pandemic or not.

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