In the past, citizens of the United States and Cochise County have shown a resilience when it comes to the challenges of a national emergency.

The current COVID 19 crisis is certainly no different.

The proactive steps taken by various groups in Cochise County to minimize the spread of the coronavirus are an indication that this spirit of resilience is still with us.

In the past, people have unified to meet the challenge whenever these episodes arise — and more importantly, have met those challenges. Small pox, the Spanish flu and HIV/AIDS all have been encountered with a unified determination, and there’s no reason that same determination can’t defeat the COVID 19 virus now.

And while we initially floundered on a national level, our community established a course of actions that are going well.

As of this writing, no cases of COVID 19 have been reported in Cochise County.

On Thursday, President Trump and his Task Force staff reported progress in terms of finding a medication — which is currently used for another condition — to use as a COVID 19 treatment. Additionally, it was reported that progress is being made in the development of a vaccine.

This is encouraging news!

There have been many cancellations of events or closures of facilities in Cochise County over the past days in order to minimize “social interactions”. And it’s rewarding to see the positive spirit prevailing among the citizens when these actions take place.

Unfortunately, some of these cancellations have created collateral damage to our social service organizations who rely on donations to fund the services they provide to the less fortunate — and that hurts.

For example, Good Neighbor Alliance (GNA) postponed its annual fundraising dinner because of COVID 19. This was a major decision since GNA derives a large portion of its operating funds from this dinner. Hopefully, those individuals and organizations who were going to participate will tell GNA to keep the dinner contributions and in essence have a No Dinner...Dinner. Also, it would be helpful if we were to send individual contributions to GNA and similar organizations who cancelled fund raisers.

A bit of hope and help was offered from Legacy Foundation CEO Margaret Hepburn who wrote: The Legacy Foundation’s support for our community partners includes Emergency Funding for organizations whose ability to provide services in the community is impacted by COVID–19. If you have the need for emergency funding please contact us — the Legacy Foundation may be able to assist.

In addition to the various hygienic recommendations — washing hands, social distancing, staying home if you’re sick — another major “to do” is really some “Don’t Do’s.”

And those Don’t Do’s are — Don’t panic, don’t hoard.

Some individuals have started “stocking up” on grocery store items — the main one, of all things, being toilet paper.

Psychologists have tried to explain the reason for hoarding toilet paper as…”In times of uncertainty, people enter a panic zone that makes them irrational and completely neurotic. In this case, we have the combo of a scary new virus and buyers looking to give themselves a sense of control.” (Dimitrios Tsivrikos)

One reported bit of humor about hoarding of toilet paper is the Australian newspaper NT News that printed eight blank pages for people to use as toilet paper in an emergency.

The encouraging factor in all of this has been the leadership and rationale thinking by state and local officials in terms of needed actions. This is in sad contrast to the Trump administration’s dismantling of the National Security Council’s global-health office, whose purpose was to address global pandemics; that action has come back to haunt us.

The good news in all of this is that we will ultimately overcome this crisis — we have to work together as a nation as we have during the past catastrophic events.

Stay calm, don’t panic, don’t hoard!

Lanny A. Kope, EdD has been a hospital trustee for over forty years, serving on urban and rural hospital boards. He is the past Board Chair of Sierra Vista Regional Health Center and has had a national responsibility as Chair of the American Hospital Association’s Committee on Governance. Dr. Kope is also a University of Phoenix faculty member in health care.

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