It's difficult to maintain a positive attitude these days, given the constant reminders of the COVID-19 outbreak here in Oregon and just about everywhere else in the world.
(Except Antarctica. So far.)
So I thought I'd dredge the corners of my mind for reasons we're fortunate to be living in Salem right now, rather than somewhere else.
Of course, I readily admit that some of what follows is by no means unique to Salem. But since I'm not in those other places, but here, I'm including those bits of positivity anyway.
(1) Just the right size. I'd hate to be living in a super-dense city, like New York. Practicing social distancing and avoiding surfaces that could have the coronavirus must be much more difficult when millions of people surround you. It'd also be worrisome to live in a rural area that is a long ways from hospitals and doctors. Thus Salem seems to be in a sweet spot, size-wise. Large enough, but not too large or too small.
(2) Marion County ranks #4 out of 36 in ability to hospitalize the elderly. Since I'm 71, and my wife is about the same age, we're in a high risk COVID-19 group. The Portland Business Journal ranked Oregon's 36 counties on how equipped they are to hospitalize their elderly population, using criteria such as the number of ICU beds per 1,000 people 65+. Pleasingly, Marion County ranked #4. Multnomah County is #1.
(3) Volunteerism is strong here. As elsewhere, admittedly. But people in Salem seem eager to make lives better for others by volunteering their time, money, and energy. Since my wife is a long-time Willamette Humane Society volunteer, along with many others, I know that "others" definitely includes dogs and cats. Today the Statesman Journal is reporting that Salem Health is looking for volunteers to sew 10,000 masks for health care providers. I bet they'll find those volunteers.
Salem Health is asking for volunteers to sew nearly 10,000 mask kits for nurses and other care providers.
Salem Health staff have created and bagged mask-making kits — enough for nearly 10,000 masks — that include surgical paper fabric, instructions and a bag for the finished product.
Those interested in helping need a sewing machine; white thread; scissors or a rotary cutter; and a yardstick, straight edge or cutting mat.
(4) Grocery stores are doing their part in difficult times. Whenever I go into a grocery store in Salem, I'm impressed with how energetic, positive, and helpful the employees are. They're working long hours under tough circumstances. I wish there was a tip jar at each check-out line so I could do more than just say "thank you for what you're doing." And many, if not most, stores are offering seniors and those with compromised immune systems a chance to shop during the first hour after opening. Much appreciated.
(5) We aren't in India. A few days ago Prime Minister Modi announced that all 1.3 billion Indians are supposed to stay in their homes during a 3-week total lockdown. (I wrote about this on one of my other blogs.) Wow. And that lockdown happened with just four hours notice, leaving very little time to look for essential supplies.
Gov. Kate Brown's "Stay Home, Save Lives" executive order is mild by comparison. And Salem has plenty of pleasant places for walkers and runners to exercise. I'd go crazy, or crazier than I am already, if I had to stay in my home for three weeks.