Editorial: Choices and consequences

In 2001, when 2,977 people died in the World Trade Center and associated attacks, Americans were outraged. Yes, it was an act of terror, but the deaths solidified our resolve as Americans — to be Americans. We purchased flags, we were kind to our neighbors and we came together to fight a common enemy. A wave of red, white and blue ran far and deep across the country, and we were united.  

Today, the United States stands at 250,000 lives lost to COVID-19.  

That is the equivalent of 83 9/11 attacks. 

Let that set in. Eighty-three…and counting. 

Today we are more divided than ever and far from being the America we were in 2001.  

How is it that Americans can come together when 2,977 of their own are killed, but barely say anything while more than 1,000 people die each day? 

For one thing, we all watched—over and over and over again—four planes crash into different areas of the country. We saw itit happened.  

The novel coronavirus is different. You can’t see it and therefore it is far easier to ignore. But, do so at your own peril.  

It is easy to pretend something doesn’t exist when you can’t see it. And, if you’ve gone months without getting COVID-19, you’re less likely to think it will actually happen to you. But, as almost all 50 states are recording record cases of the virus, hospitalizations and deaths are also on the rise, and some states that saw few cases during the so-called first wave are seeing an exponential rise in cases now. Currently, 47 states say that the coronavirus is out of their control.  

In April, when stay-at-home order was first announced in Maine, residents, for the most part, took it, and the virus, seriously. They followed the order and stayed home, but it was easier to do because there was a slew of federal assistance to ease the burden. Last week, when asked by a reporter if she was considering another such order given the rise in cases, Gov. Janet Mills said no. She said that it would be difficult to ask people to close their businesses when there was nothing in place to help them through the closure.  

In the battle between health and the economy, the economy wins this round, but the consequences could be dire.  

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