Learning to live with a new reality

Gov. Kemp issued an Executive Order outlining the conditions, recommendations and suggestions for different kinds of businesses and organizations to be able to reopen. The progress of the pandemic is significantly slower but not completely over in the Atlanta region, althought the situation is markedly better in other parts of the state, including the CSRA. So what's the deal?

Most experts will tell you what we already suspected: until we have a vaccine, there is really no way completely out of the mess. The pandemic is expected to last another 20-24 months with periodic ups and downs in the rate of infection while the about 8 promisory vaccines continue to be tested. One could say "why not keeping everything closed until the whole thing is over?". Answering that means understanding that today, the United States - arguably the strongest economy in the world - is living through a 14 % unemployment as measured by the number of applications for benefits plus an additional 6% living with furloughs, reduced hours and salary cuts. This means one in every five Americans is going today through financial hardship beyond what is normal. The government passed the CARE Act, which poured $ 3 Billion into the economy, much of it through the Payroll Protection Program administered by the Small Business Association. But let's face it... with people remaining in shelter in place, even that help is a drop in the bucket.

If we keep the economy closed until everything is over (another 20 to 24 months), there will probably not be any economy to reopen at the end. Yet if we open prematurely or we do not take precautions to function, the pandemic will continue and more people will die. In the balancing act between saving lives, containing the pandemic and securing an economic future for Human society, the only answer is what many epidemiologists are saying: "We need to learn to live with the pandemic until we get a vaccine or herd immunity" In plainer language, bite the bullet and move forward.

But moving forward responsibly means to take all the possible precaution to minimize risk. That is what we are doing at the AJCC. Summer Camp is moving forward, but with significant changes and reduced capacity so we can ensure campers can practice Social distancing, and activities adapt to the new sanitary conditions. Screening campers at drop-off, which under normal circumstances would be considered invasive, under present conditions is necessary; strict separation between groups, testing of personnel, daily sanitizing of the facilities. All of this and more is necessary to keep our campers and their families safe, and we will be doing all of it and more. 

This is a new reality we will have to live with for the next year or so until we have the tools to defeat the virus. And we will continue to live and participate in any way we can - because being part of society is being with people; because preserving the future needs to go hand in hand with preserving life. So the AJCC welcomes families to our 2020 Summer; a summer like no other summer before and we hope like no other future summer. We have new rules and limitations, but we continue to serve the community. If you wish to learn more about our preparations, you can contact programs@jewishaugusta.org

On the other hand, if what you need is help to navigate this new reality, we are here to serve, and the Augusta Jewish Federation Jewish Family Services can help you. You can contact jfs@jewishaugusta.org.

And if you need to find ways to stay connected and find activities online, keep reading our Jewish News and Views.




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