by Glenn Marx, MALT Executive Director
Unless you lived through the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 (and perhaps 50 million people did not survive that flu) you have not experienced anything like the coronavirus. If you did live through the Spanish flu and are reading this…wow, you’re amazing.
The article to the right chronicles recent local and national reports, and local land trust actions and efforts in response to the COVID-19 threat. And make no mistake, the threat – from both a medical and economic perspective – is terrifying. President Trump and Congress are preparing to spend a few trillion dollars in an attempt to save lives and avoid the possibility of 20% unemployment and a devastating recession. We in America and people across the globe may be battling coronavirus for18 months. While there is only so much we can do to flatten the curve, flattening the now-famous curve is the local and international priority. Because safety is the priority. Our part-time Helena next door neighbor tested positive for the virus. We wish him well, and we thank all medical staff for their service.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented (hopefully brief) time, and what happens next – both medically and economically – is uncertain and unpredictable. Within roughly ten days we have gone from (angrily) “They canceled the NCAA Basketball Tournament?” to “School’s closed?” to “Restaurants are closed?” to “A lockdown?” to (fearfully) “What’s next?” Truth is, not even the people who are taking those next steps are confident about what’s going to happen next. We do know it is going to get worse before it gets better.
We also know it will get better. We will get through this crisis. The Spanish flu killed 675,000 Americans in 1918. That pandemic was quickly followed by the Roaring 20s. We’ll also come roaring back.