If we want to be Rockaway Strong, we’ve got to be Rockaway Smart.           

The flu is Hurricane Irene. The Coronavirus is Superstorm Sandy. That was the spot-on metaphor used by civic activist John Cori. Maybe it’s even worse. Maybe this is Superstorm Sandy in slow motion. In any case, Hurricane Irene made us complacent and we were not prepared for Sandy. And the government was least prepared of all.

After Sandy, you know what we did? We helped ourselves. We helped our neighbors.

We’ve got to do the same now.

At the moment, the hardest part of this is the uncertainty. No matter how extreme, most crises are short and we deal with the aftermath. Even when death occurs. We plan a funeral, we grieve. We do what we have to do. But now? We’re not sure what’s next. There’s really no precedent. And there is no aftermath. Not yet.

But we can prepare. And pitch in. 

If you can, check in on the elderly, shop for them, ask what they need.

If you can, stay home. You might be young, you might feel great, you also might be a carrier. You’re more likely to become a carrier if you’re hanging out in crowds. And then you might be the carrier who brings it into your own home. 

If you can, order in from a local restaurant. If you can, buy a gift card.

Hey, this sucks. It’s surreal. But it never hurts to remember that we live in a place where good people make all the difference. We saw a Japanese proverb posted by the Harbor Light—Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight. If the Harbor Light can muster that attitude, so can the rest of us.

No matter what. 

There won’t always be proof that extreme measures worked. If you don’t get sick, you might say, see, it was a big overreaction. They didn’t need to do all that. Ok, you get bragging rights. Big deal. Of course, you might have gotten sick (or died) without those measures. And you might never know.

But, in any case, you don’t want to be saying, more should have been done. 

The economy is of great concern, of course. We don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease but the economy comes after the health and well-being of people.

The Rockaway Times is a small business and at great risk with a sick or stalled economy.

We need a thriving Rockaway economy. But I’m the publisher and I want my family, my friends, staff, and you to be safe. Even at the risk of going out of business.

This is tough medicine. I think it’s needed and we should heed the words of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the expert in charge. “People always say, well, the flu does this, the flu does that. The flu has a mortality of 0.1%. This has a mortality rate of 10 times that. That’s the reason I want to emphasize we have to stay ahead of the game in preventing this.”

We’re in this together.  Here’s praying we can stay ahead and this storm moves away soon.

– Kevin Boyle