After eight months of this pandemic, we’re all feeling the stress of wearing masks indoors and social isolation, and it’s compounded by the anxious news of increasing COVID-19 numbers and patients filling up hospitals.

The late fall is such a contrast from a month or so ago, when to some degree, the metrics indicated we had some control over the virus.

Back then, my husband and I took a drive just north of Waunakee through Lodi and Poynette to look at the fall colors. We drove country roads through farm fields, observed all of the political signs, and stopped for a while on the shore of Lake Wisconsin. The drive was relaxing and just enough of a getaway to forget about all the stresses, at least until the stretch home.

On a two-lane road, coming up on a blind hill, a car passing another suddenly appeared in our lane. By the grace of God, the driver of the vehicle being passed slowed, and so did my husband, and the passing vehicle avoided hitting us head-on.

We felt so fortunate for that driver who slowed down, and we realized, for one moment, our lives were in his hands. He waved at us as we passed him, and we waved back, shaken.

As we hear of Dane County hospitals filling up, taking patients from overloaded Wisconsin hospitals, my husband and I have wondered, what would have happened today if that near-miss had ended differently and that car had hit his us head on? Would hospitals have the capacity to treat us?

I don’t know the answer.

But clearly, we really are all in this together, as we all share the same healthcare resources, just like the roads. The healthcare workers have their limits, and they’re stretched right now.

Just like that driver who slowed down to allow another car to pass safely without a crash, we are all responsible not only for our own lives, but others’ as well.

We know what we need to do to prevent the virus spread; we’ve been told over and over. Yes, masks do prevent the widespread of respiratory droplets.

And yes, the virus can only spread with human contact, so limit that with others who are not in the same household. We can follow the recommendations from health professionals. These are not Democrats or Republicans; they’re scientists.

Right now, those scientists have issued Executive Order No. 9. The only change from the previous order deals with mass gatherings. They are prohibited indoors and limited to 10 people outdoors.

So we can’t have big Thanksgiving parties unless we dine al fresco.

We can do Thanksgiving on Zoom or call one another. We can take pictures of our delicious cooking creations and post them on social media or email them to one another. We can find a way to celebrate safely, without contributing to the COVID spread. We can go for a hike together.

The ask seems fairly small to ensure our healthcare workers can continue to provide the care we need.

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