COVID-19 is a true challenge for humanity, one we must accept and approach head-on.

A year ago, none of us thought we’d be in this position.

A year from now, five years from now, 20 years from now — successful vaccine or not — we will remember this. But what will the memory be?

The virus has taken away many things in 2020 — the lives of family members and friends, nights out with friends, special moments like high school proms and graduations and first birthday party hugs.

We also need to ask what has it given us?

We know that many of the country’s employees can work from home as effectively as they can at the office.

You can’t share hugs over Zoom, but we can share jokes, laughs, smiles and heartfelt moments with our loved ones. And, right now, that can be enough.

Local musicians tell us they have turned COVID-19 into a reason to be thankful — either by playing music to entertain themselves, learning to play a new instrument or new songs or embracing a new hobby.

Meanwhile, Geisinger is now categorizing its convenient care centers. Convenient Care Danville, on Northumberland Street — Route 11 — is designated as a cold and flu center. The centers in Shamokin Dam and Mount Carmel are considered typical care centers.

“We decided the best way was to separate out clinics that were for colds and flu and try to divert people there so they’re not sitting in waiting rooms with elderly people or people with chronic illness,” said Dr. Richard Martin, Geisinger’s medical director for convenient care.

That seems like the kind of decision that will make sense — especially during cold and flu season — well after 2020 is a distant memory.

Would it have been considered without our current intense focus on this unknown virus that has claimed nearly 1.5 million lives globally since March?

Surviving, and keeping our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers safe, is the biggest challenge we face because of the virus.

But another challenge is figuring out how all of us — individually and as a society — can be better at the other end of this thing.

So, in that moment in the future when we have an effective vaccine and life begins to return to normal, we might also be able to remember the opportunities spawned from such a trying time.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard and News Editor Eric Pehowic.

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