What are we learning from the COVID-10 pandemic, followed by the death of George Floyd before our eyes? I hope it is that all lives matter!

Now is the time for everyone, of every race, religion and nationality, to look out not only for their neighbors, but for everyone.

Everyone includes my son, who lives in a group home. We cannot visit him. We can only talk on the phone.

Everyone includes my sister in an assisted living facility, who must stay in her small room for most of the day and eat meals at a table for one. Think of all the people in the congregate living situations who have been “virtual prisoners” for months.

Everyone includes my daughter, alone in her apartment on the West Coast, unemployed and “staying safe” at home.

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Everyone includes all the front line workers driving buses, stocking stores, handing out food and protesting peacefully.

As I venture from home to get essential items, I see stressed out people in the stores and stressed out drivers on the roads. I go to the grocery store only when we run out of milk, wearing a mask and keeping the recommended six-foot distance to protect myself and others.

We all want businesses to reopen and the unemployed to get back to work. However, my trip to a local business this week was stressful and discouraging. In violation of the CDC guidelines, no store personnel were wearing masks. Do they care that wearing marks is for other people’s protection? No store employees were keeping a six-foot social distance from each other or their customers. I will not be returning to that store.

COVID-19 is extremely contagious and cases are rising. The death toll rises daily. In the midst of the crisis of Floyd’s death, the crisis of worldwide pandemic continues. Many seem to think that they are young and invincible. It is crucial that we think beyond ourselves or we will unnecessarily lose thousands more people to this deadly virus.

Nancy Pettman

Red Wing