It is hard to find anything in modern times that would prepare American culture for this prolonged period of social isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond the immediate anxiety of health and financial threats of this horrific menace, countless numbers on the Mid-Shore will experience a profound change in the quality and scope of their lives.
For the next four weeks, perhaps longer, the cultural disruption caused by COVID-19 may be as significant a test for our community as it will be on our health system. With schools out, performances canceled, meetings postponed, and social gatherings taken off the calendar, Americans, if the virus does not directly impact them, will have a lot of time on their hands, presumably after they have washed them.
For the first time in some forty years, parents and their children will find an unprecedented amount of time together. Community leaders and volunteers will find their jobs have been put on hold. Professionals geared for court battle or staff meetings will need to stand down, and some of our most reliable sources of escape, from movie theaters to concerts, will not be an option.
There is little doubt that this social isolation will have a very grievous impact on some families, particularly those with minimum age salary earners, older parents, or parents working out day care while they continue doing their jobs. We have yet to know the full impact, but their suffering must be addressed and it is hopeful will be from our federal, state, and local governments.
It is also important to note that idleness is a dangerous state for some. With the lack of organized days and limited curiosity, it is conceivable to see a surge in alcoholism and drug abuse. And with that rise, there will inevitably be an increase in domestic violence and mental health issues. The Spy is dedicated to reporting on these kinds of development as they occur.
But for many of our readers, the next month will literally be a month of Sundays. Without normal work or school days, meetings, or team sports, we will also face the difficulties, but also the unknown opportunities that comes with combating idleness.
In a best-case, this great American Slow Down could open the door for stronger families, better friendships, and a re-acquaintance with ourselves. This unexpected downtime may be just the break needed to re-establish priorities and gain a new sense of purpose. People will have the time to express new creativity, self-educate, and reinforce personal ties.
The Spy is eager for our readers to use this newly found time to do just that. And to help it along, each day we will share suggestions from our columnists, neighbors and community leaders, on books to read, music to hear, films to watch, food to cook, games to play and outings to take. Stay tuned for these daily installments starting today.
The next month will be unlike anything one can realistically process in advance. Every day will bring new information and developments, and the Spy is prepared to do its part as an essential portal for that information. But we also see, and politely urge, the community to experience the these silver linings as well, and take advantage of the great slow down of 2020.