During World War II and other times of great threat, Americans have demonstrated a willingness to rise above ardent individualism and dislike of government control and do what is best for the greater public.

Americans were called upon to sacrifice through rationing – everything from household food items to gas and tires – during World War II. They collected scrap metal and purchased war bonds.

The United States is at war again, but this time against a highly infectious virus that we’re learning more about every day. Individuals are being called upon to do their part for the good of all, some through income loss. Families are stressed by having children out of school.

Suddenly, life is no longer as we have known it. We can’t eat out at favorite restaurants; athletic events are cancelled; libraries, movie theaters and other popular venues are closed; events like MerleFest are cancelled; routine health care and routine government services are delayed; and the list of disruptions goes on.

Worst of all, we’ve been told to keep our distance or just stay away from each other. Most churches have cancelled in-person worship services and other gatherings that provide the support so many need.

Like a time of real war, fear and anxiety are being fed by uncertainty. No one knows how long school, business and other closures will be necessary; how long there will be limits on crowd sizes; how many among us will become ill and if the worst fears of all will be realized.

What we do know is that we aren’t powerless against this fearful foe. We can lessen its timeline and severity and its impact on our health systems by remaining vigilant in following public health guidelines, especially advice concern “social distancing.”

We’ve learned that the coronavirus is spread mainly from people being within about six feet of each other – through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into lungs.

Different parts of the country are seeing varied levels of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We’re seeing that the level of public health response impacts the duration and severity of the virus.

This brings definitive purpose to our sacrifices and should help motivate diligence.

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