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Now is the time to look after our neighbors

If the novel coronavirus causes the same amount of disruption, disease and death in the United States that has been seen in nations hit earlier, the next few weeks could be very difficult for our nation and our community.

This is an illness that requires us to isolate ourselves to keep from getting sick. Stay six-feet apart, don’t to go to restaurants, stay away from any large gatherings, don’t visit people in the hospital, nursing homes or prisons. Most church services have been canceled for at least a couple weeks. All of these guidelines and steps that have been taken are excellent advice, but they only increase a sense of isolation and loneliness already prevalent in our society.

Our elderly population, who seem to be in the crosshairs of this respiratory illness, may spend weeks seeing no one, staring at the walls and wondering what is next.

In this time, it is important to act as a community and good neighbors. While dropping in and visiting is not the best idea, calling those who cannot get out becomes more important. Sending cards and letters is a great way to stay in touch as well. For neighbors who are on Facebook, checking in with a quick message is another way to stay connected.

It is important we make sure people around us have what they need to get through this crisis. We cannot allow this time of required isolation to allow us to ignore those who may not have the means to survive this crisis on their own.

The plan of Prince Edward Schools to feed school children breakfast and lunch every day, even though they are not in session, is a good one. We need similar plans for other segments of the population who may need a helping hand.

By working together we can get through this crisis with ease. Everyone needs to follow the hand-washing and social-distancing standards. But we cannot let this time of isolation become a time when we ignore the needs of our neighbors.

Although we will all be spending more time behind our own doors, we cannot lose our sense of community and the duty to the betterment of all.