Dear Friends,

As I write this column, the COVID-19 crises is still underway but we are seeing some signs that the precautions we have all been taking are beginning to work. Models and projections that we have seen are continually being readjusted in a positive direction. The number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths are much lower than previously thought. Progress is being made, thanks to strong leadership by our Governor and his emergency management team. His actions have been balanced and reasonable because he recognizes that statewide shutdowns, quarantines and curfews are not effective as a one-size-fits-all approach. Allowing local communities to address their specific circumstances and identifying virus “hot spots” are much more efficient at controlling further outbreak.

Moving forward, test and treat is going to be the best long-term solution we have at fighting this problem. No one can say for sure how long this virus will be around, and whether or not it will come back in another season. This is brand new to all of us and is, in part, what makes it scary for most people. Now is a time for faith, not fear. The media is constantly showing us the numbers of deceased victims, and images from New York hospitals that are struggling, but what they aren’t showing is the number of people that have fully recovered. Our healthcare systems are some of the best in the world and the professionals caring for our sick people there are highly trained and competent. For that, we are extremely blessed.

The silver lining in this is that we will emerge stronger and more prepared. Our systems and protocols are being tested to their limits. We are finding out what works and what needs to be addressed. Innovations and new technologies are being discovered and we are seeing what our real capabilities are when it comes to production and industry. Our healthcare providers are being asked to fast track research and development of new vaccines. The agriculture industry is being asked to handle supply chain fluctuations due to variations in consumer behavior. Retail and grocery stores are figuring out new ways to get products to people that aren’t leaving their homes. Even vehicle manufacturers have stepped up and refitted their machinery to help produce ventilators rather than car parts. Everywhere we look, the fabric of society is being strained, and I believe that we are responding with great determination and reliance.

We will need to respond with that same determination in the coming weeks as we begin to make the tough decisions of how and when we get people back to work and drive our economy forward. These decisions will need to be carefully but purposely planned so that we are maintaining reasonable precautions, while moving forward towards a goal that is more sustainable in the long-term.

Onward & Upward,

Senator Dennis Baxley

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