Our View: Keeping the focus on hope
Our View

Our View: Keeping the focus on hope

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We have come to rely on the efficiency of personal finance website WalletHub’s analysis that compares states in crucial areas, from finance to governance.

WalletHub’s latest assessment measures each of the states’ aggressiveness in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Cutting to the chase, California is tops in the nation.

That will come as no surprise to Californians, who have been ordered to shelter in place — staying at home, essentially — until the coronavirus’ path is determined, and that may take a while.

WalletHub’s comprehensive study focused on nearly 50 categories in which some sort of action has been taken to curb the virus’ spread, and treating those who contract the disease. The rankings were valid up to and including this past Monday, which means things could have changed somewhat by the time you read this. It’s moving that quickly.

California ranks No. 1 nationwide for its share of workers with access to paid sick leave, thanks in large part to aggressive state policies instituted through legislative action. We rank fifth overall with regard to the number of active epidemiologists at work in the medical profession.

California is 13th best when it comes to spending on public health care per capita, which is a significant accomplishment considering California is the nation’s most heavily-populated state. We are 14th best in state and local public-health labs.

A few weeks ago, such statistics would likely have evoked yawns from California residents. Today, not so much. California had some major problems before the pandemic, and the rapid spread of the disease has only made them worse.

It may interest you to learn that the state with the highest level of emergency medical funding is not a state at all. It’s the District of Columbia, where all the federal rules makers work. Are you surprised?

At the opposite end of that metric is New York, which not-so-coincidentally has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 spread in the United States. Unfortunately, California came in a miserable 49th place in the lowest total public-health emergency preparedness funding per capita.

All of which makes it evident that when this virus plays itself out, assuming it does, Americans and other nations will likely do some shuffling of priorities, perhaps even setting aside political and ideological differences in the interests of self-preservation. Some countries that have been tearing at each other for centuries are actually beginning to talk about some sort of lasting peace arrangement.

Sort of reminds of us a phoenix rising from the ashes. In ancient Greek folklore, a phoenix is a bird that regenerates itself in a specific cycle related to tragedies or general change. The belief is that the phoenix rising creates a new and stronger entity.

It can be difficult for people living in the midst of a massive-scale pandemic, natural disaster or devastating world war to look too far into the future, but it is something we must do. It’s something to think about as we sit at home, either doing our jobs remotely, entertaining our kids, or reading and watching movies. There will be a future, we’re just not certain what it will be.

In that regard, Californians should thank their lucky stars that this state is better prepared than most for riding out a pandemic — if we take our state-imposed restrictions seriously, practice social distancing, keep up the hand-washing and other means of containing the coronavirus.

Having hope for a better future is a basic part of human nature. Now is a good time to keep that firmly in mind.

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