We are all learning a lot during this time

April 7, 2020

No doubt each and every one of us has a strong feeling and/or opinion about the state of the world as we now know it.  What is perhaps continually and increasingly plucking at our nerves is the fact that we have absolutely no control over the phenomenon or its daily effects. A virus is a tiny disease-causing agent.  How can something so simply defined wreak so much havoc among millions of people, costing them millions of dollars?  Other than in a doctor’s office, the word itself is rarely heard, with the exception of one’s computer, or better someone else’s computer.

With our computer, a virus performs a malicious action, such as the destruction of our files, files which we may have spent months or years developing.  But a visit to the Geek Squad can fix that virus.  There will be some damage, but for crying out loud, we were not prevented from going to our favorite SoDel restaurant or Starbucks. Furthermore, we have usually installed anti-virus software of some kind to prevent the destruction of our precious files filled with birthdays, anniversaries, and telephone numbers.

So here we are: helpless, nervous and angry!  And worse, no sports, no outlets, no bars, no visitors!  How could this happen? We have been good, even kinder and gentler! 

We have called our parents with some regularity, gone to our daughter’s recital, had prepared to coach Little League, and were about to vote one way or the other on school district financial issues.  Gee, we even sent a few dollars to the fire and ambulance squad. Why is this happening to us?  All of our plans thrown into disarray, especially our cruise!

Absent from the equation in our self-imposed pity is the fact that our neighbors are ill, and some are dying or have died.  Of course I refer to our biblical neighbor, not necessarily the person in the house or condo next door. There is no software at the moment or in the foreseeable future which can ward off that tragic reality.  We are inconvenienced; others are dying.  And we are, pardon the expression, “pissed off.”  My goodness, we have even lost “The Tonight Show” as we once knew it. We are having quite a bit of trouble coping with what we cannot control. This is like being buried in a snow blizzard with a limited number of plows. The difference is that eventually there will be a plow to get us from the garage to the road, from the road to the street, from the street to the avenue.

It appears to me that we may not be focusing enough on the core of our collective crisis, and on the women and men who are at the front lines taking in the brunt of the virus.  The medical professionals and paraprofessionals at the hospitals in all three of our counties are earning and deserving of our thanks and gestures of appreciation for caring for the sick, and perhaps putting their own lives at risk.  This particular virus has caused a pandemic. 

An epidemic is an event which affects many persons at one time; a pandemic is an event prevalent over a whole country or the world. It is important to know what the word means in relation to the usual tag for these ills. This particular malady started and took root in 2019, hence the 19 in the name COVID-19.

We are all learning a lot during this time, with a special note to those parents who are now learning how difficult the job of teaching children truly is.  Professional educators are always worthy of praise and admiration, but it seems certain now that mom and dad have come to the realization that a classroom teacher is indeed a very special and blessed person who should always be held in the highest esteem. 

Technology is at the ready to assist us with home schooling or online instruction as it is now termed.  Imagine, however, a pandemic in 1980, a mere 40 years ago, and home schooling without electronics, or even in 2020, in many homes in our state.
Pages have been and shall be and can be written with respect to our current deadly dilemma, but this author merely wants to cast a sense of peace and hope.  This shall not last forever.

Viruses come and go, and may even return.   For the often-mentioned elderly, we recall only too well things called polio, rheumatic fever, HIV, Ebola, and other maladies which the scientists have overcome.  Those women and men shall eventually find a cure and a vaccine for this one too.  In the interim there shall also be a time of calm when the virus eases, and we can resume our usual activities; probably not exactly in the way in which we had become accustomed, but still a cup or a paper container of coffee with a new friend at a Route 1 or Rehoboth Avenue venue. 


Peter E. Carter is a retired public school administrator who actively serves as a board member of the Delaware Botanic Gardens, and is an educational consultant to several law firms in New Jersey. He has held leadership roles in two separate homeowners associations in Sussex County.


  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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