Our new reality with the coronavirus

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Our son, Harry, came to our home to bring us fresh fruit – red apples, bright yellow bananas – and rustic wheat bread. Thomas brought huge boxes of Gatorade and sparkling water. That’s not unusual.

But the circumstances had changed. We met outdoors in the driveway, we stood 6 feet apart. We didn’t hug or kiss. We called out “I love you” above the noise of the wind.

Thomas admonished us to use the disposable gloves he purchased for us. He promised to return with the much-needed toilet paper. It seems that toilet paper was one of the fastest-selling products.

Facing the truth

To our immense delight, Little Harry brought our 2-year-old grandson to visit on the driveway. Big Harry’s first instinct was to move in the direction of his grandson, but I held his hand and reminded him about the coronavirus. He instead waved at the baby and admired his new shoes and rabbit ears from a distance and blew kisses.

Having just been discharged from the hospital and having limited access to news, Harry is still trying to wrap his head around the enormity of this virus.

The truth is I’m still trying to comprehend the situation. Many Americans are trying to do the same. As of today, the number of deaths in the United States surpasses that of 9/11.

In high-risk group

Harry is in the high-risk group since he has a history of heart disease and diabetes. And in his recent hospital stay he was intubated two times as many COVID-19 sufferers must endure. So, we are especially vigilant about social distancing-the act of keeping 6 feet away from people not living in your household.

We don’t leave our home. Our groceries are mainly delivered, although that may take days since it seems everybody is using home delivery services.

Dr. Jeffrey Sterling, a national leader in community-based medicine and health care, says “that we must acknowledge that the stress we’re enduring is a different kind and level of mental trauma than most of us have previously had to endure.

Detox from stress

Please consider the following suggestions about keeping focused and even productive during this time.”

COVID-19 has consumed our lives. Give yourself a break from news and social media engagement around the topic. It’s stressful!We are social creatures. If used correctly, social media can be quite the uplift. Engage in a virtual happy hour, class reunion, dance party or book club. Phone a friend. Often.

Be active. Yes, binge watching those television shows and movies you’ve always wanted to catch up on are options. Engage them! However, take advantage of this time to meditate, get in shape, learn a new language or develop a new hobby. I hear some of you have taken to sewing masks!

We will be alright

Take care of you and yours. Make sure you’re getting sleep. Find things that make you smile. Learn to appreciate your time away. Create your own home vacation world. Get creative. And don’t forget about the kids.

We watch a lot of documentaries, especially war documentaries, Harry likes to watch the
same ones two or three times to make sure the endings remain the same. The one thing that we know for sure, is that we are going to be alright. We will be alright.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder and president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC). Kay DeBow is the NBCC co-founder. Contact them via www.nationalbcc.org.

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