A Reminder of What's Important
As we get used to the "new normal" of living with the specter of the novel coronavirus looming over us, we are being reminded of all the things it takes to maintain our lives and well-being.
Some of these are obvious, and are the kinds of people that we've always known were essential. Doctors. Nurses. EMTs. And everyone else in the medical field staffing the hospitals and emergency rooms, and administering life-saving procedures. Police. Firefighters. Military personnel. All those who are always on the front lines when there are emergencies in our cities and towns.
Others are visible, but are people we never used to think about when the word "emergency" was uttered. People who stock shelves and operate cash registers at pharmacies and grocery stores. Kitchen staff at restaurants serving our new take-out-only world. Gas station attendants. Delivery personnel. People who clean the grocery stores, pharmacies, and other establishments that are still open. People who collect our trash. People who repair our infrastructure. People who gather and report the news.
Many others are working behind the scenes. We never see them, but our dependence on them has become more and more obvious as we have moved into crisis mode. The farmers and distributors who grow, process, and ship our food. The factory workers employed at factories being retooled to provide the ventilators and masks needed in this health crisis. And yes, the toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The truck drivers who deliver the food and goods we need. The people who answer the phones of the services we call. The government workers who continue to assure that essential services continue to be supplied to the American public, and that health and safety oversight is maintained.
And, last but not least, the people who assure that our power plants keep working, and that the power we so desperately need, especially during these difficult times, continues to be available. Power to run our hospitals. Power to run our factories. Power to keep our homes well lit and at a comfortable temperature. Power that enables us to operate all the technology that is helping us continue our work, keep in touch with each other, get needed medical advice, and so much more.
Our power, of course, comes from a variety of sources, all of them needed, but in times like this, our nuclear plants are especially valuable, as they can operate for long periods of time without refueling. We should keep in mind that, at some sites, keeping the staff safe and available to provide the nation with much-needed power means that some staff are living on site, away from their loved ones.
Right now, it is difficult for anyone to see what the world will look like when the COVID-19 crisis ends. Much will return to the old "normal," I'm sure. There will also be some changes. Unfortunately, some establishments that are shuttered may never reopen. Maybe more people will continue to work from home. There is much speculation, and only time will tell. But I hope that, even when things are back to normal, we remember the services that kept the wheels going during the current crisis--the people, the network of services, the factories, and the power plants. They are the hidden, but critical, elements that keep our society functioning.