Dennis Lyons

I wish I could write a column that would convince every last person to take the coronavirus seriously.

I’d love to hit the save button on a piece that would awaken the final skeptics to the fact that COVID-19  is real and potentially deadly, regardless of age.

Realistically, there’s nothing I could write that would erase the doubt too many still have about the virus, or convince them that the simple gestures of wearing a face mask and social distancing actually do make a difference.

Tragically, fighting this virus became so quickly and deeply politicized. A common sense for the common good decision to do those things even if you weren’t 100 percent sure it would help became too much to ask.

That doesn’t mean we’re going to stop trying to get the message across.

Today on our front page, we launch an ongoing series of stories under the title “When COVID Hits Home.”

I hope you will take some time today to read the first two of what will be a compelling series of stories about people across the Susquehanna Valley who have lost family members to the virus.

We will also be telling the stories of Valley people who have struggled mightily to fight back from it and about those on the front lines who have helped them along the way.

America is 10 months and more than 280,000 lost lives into this pandemic. About 11,000 of those lost have been Pennsylvanians. The numbers increase and become more overwhelming with each passing day.

That’s more than 280,000 men and women, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, sisters, brothers and sons and daughters lost to a disease that some people still manage to believe is a hoax or exaggerated.

The refusal to accept that this virus is real has cost lives.

This isn’t about personal freedom. It’s about doing what we can to keep ourselves, our families, our neighbors and those around us healthy and safe.

This isn’t about politics or who you voted for in the last election. It’s about taking the recommended steps to slow the spread of a virus that is the biggest public health danger any of us has ever experienced.

It’s about being willing to postpone weddings and graduations and proms and parties so we don’t have to plan many more funerals.

Yes, there are vaccines on the way. But it’s still going to be a while before they are available for everyone. Plus, history shows us that many people won’t be willing to take the vaccine even when one or more become readily available.

We deeply appreciate those who have already stepped forward to share their often painful stories. We hope more of you will share your own

Our desire and that of the people who are sharing their COVID-19 stories is simple.

We hope that reading about our neighbors and what they have gone through in dealing with this virus will inspire change for at least some who otherwise might continue to stubbornly and selfishly refuse to accept how awful this pandemic really is.

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