Cruisin’ event welcome therapy as area braces for growing threat

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“Cruisin’ the Square” never felt so good.
Though many folks driving around Aurora’s downtown square have likely never participated in that particular ritual, the emotions were somewhat raw Saturday during a feel-good event that could not have come at a better time. Our community misses each other in this midst of this coronavirus pandemic, it’s plain to see. So the chance to share a smile, a laugh and in many cases a tear, even just beyond arm’s length, was priceless therapy.
Teachers, especially, seemed eager to share a greeting with their students, many of whom they haven’t seen in weeks. Area school districts and families are starting to adjust to online enrichment programs, though it’s clearly not the same as the hands-on learning environment all are used to.
It’s heart-warming, as always, to see our community reach out to support each other and help those in need, but the reality is that comes with a catch now due to the social distancing protocol and life-or-death warnings that have changed our whole world. With each week it seems the restrictions grow tighter as confirmed cases grow closer, making us wonder when we’ll finally turn the corner on COVID-19. The answer, unfortunately, is that we’re not there yet, perhaps not even close.
This week’s edition includes a must-read COVID-19 story from the epicenter of this deadly pandemic -- New York City. Aurora natives Tereasa Payne and Erin Whitney both live in the Big Apple now, where they report conditions that seem more like a scientific war zone than America’s hot spot. Both offered impassioned pleas for Nebraskans to take this threat seriously, now, because every single step each of us can take to prevent the spread does matter.
Payne’s world now in lower Manhattan is horrifying, with previously healthy people she knows dying, no room to spread out or get some air, and limited access to health care even if she needed it. This isn’t New York, but if that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will.
History will tell us much, much later how well the world responded to this crisis, documenting steps that could have been taken to reduce the number of deaths. Let’s do our part to limit the spread as much as possible in Hamilton County and Nebraska.
Kurt Johnson

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