From Pandemic, to Panic, to Perseverance

Living as a community during a time of social distancing


Amaya Turner, with permission

Social distancing and the shut-down of all Massachusetts schools has led to more time with family.

Amaya Turner, Staff Writer

The coronavirus feels much more real to me than it did a couple weeks ago. It’s no longer confined to my phone screen or the news reporting on some distant country. It’s directly affecting me, my family, my small town of Abington.

I have never in my fifteen years experienced anything like this, have never lived in times of a pandemic like this. I don’t know how to feel. I don’t know what will happen next. Many things changing by the hour, from government orders of social distancing to the number of confirmed cases. As of March 21, there are more than 21,000 confirmed cases in the US, with 525 of those being in Massachusetts.

“Limiting the negative energy that is given and received online could help calm the surrounding panic around COVID-19.”

— Amaya Turner

All of the changing information on social media creates rising distress, coupled with Gov. Baker’s new directions to shut all K-12 schools down until April 7 leads me to think we need to be kind to one another. To be there for one another. And because we can’t be together in person, we are now more dependent on social media than ever.

Therefore, instead of contributing to the worry and fear online, which will only make things worse for everyone, let’s try to foster kindness and positivity on social media. People can share something fun you did while home with your family, like playing a board game. Or post a nice message to help someone smile.

If you feel too overwhelmed by social media, step away from it altogether and go outside for a walk. Limiting the negative energy that is given and received online could help calm the surrounding panic around COVID-19.

During the time of a pandemic, the emotional turmoil it creates can be scary. But, I believe we will pull through. I have seen our town band together in the face of tragedies. Like when a parade was organized to pay respects for fallen Marine Sgt. Vasselian in 2013, who grew up in Abington and was an AHS graduate of the Class of 2004. Or with the annual Coombs Memorial Road Race, established by Christie Coombs after her husband Jeff died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Almost everyone in town comes together every September for the 5k walk/road race to raise money for the Coombs Foundation, which then helps families struggling financially after a challenging event comes to them. And more recently this past fall, the town again came together after the Zaccardi family tragedy.

I believe we will pull through the coronavirus, a new challenge, but one that is being tackled. The Center of Disease Control and the World Health Organization are being very vocal and offering constant information about the spread and containment of COVID-19.

Supporting one another during these unusual times will be very important to contain the emotional stress that has arisen. Rather than panic in the face of the pandemic, let’s persevere together.