How will this crisis change our beloved country?

The bad news is obvious: Too many Americans are suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, as are too many of our fellow human travelers around the world.

The good news is a bit harder to find, but it’s there: We will emerge from this crisis in due course. It likely won’t be as soon as Donald Trump keeps saying it will occur, but we’ll get through this.

Now for some  uncertain news: How will this crisis and our national reaction to it change this country we all love beyond measure?

My strong sense is that when we emerge on the other side that we won’t be quite the same as we were prior to the first death was recorded what seems to long ago.

Maybe we should adopt tighter personal hygiene habits. We should wash our hands more frequently than we did prior to the pandemic. Perhaps we should adopt some modified form of “social distancing.”

To be clear, I am a hugger. I tend to embrace good friends I haven’t seen in some time. That might change, particularly if my friends wave me off, suggesting I should keep my distance. I guess I’ll take on a case-by-case basis.

On a government level, we most certainly should reintroduce the pandemic watchdog element to our National Security Council. Donald Trump eliminated that arm of the NSC not long after he took office as president of the United States. We are paying for that inattention now. Each of our state governments perhaps ought to find the will and the wherewithal to establish pandemic-oriented agencies as well.

The change in our national psyche also is likely to linger long after the disease runs its course. I hope with all my strength for a vaccine, much like we developed in the 1950s with polio. Many other diseases have emerged since then, but we haven’t found cures for them; I think of HIV/AIDS in particular.

Our daily lives are likely to see changes. What they turn out to be remains one of the great unknowns, one of the uncertain elements that awaits us.

Until the end of this crisis arrives, I’ll concentrate on hoping for the best news … that it’s over. Then we can start planning for the uncertain future that lies ahead.

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