samtrans17
The normally full morning SamTrans Route 17 bus makes its way south through Devil’s Slide on Monday with barely a soul aboard.

Last week, an abundance of caution became an abundance of cancellations. Our schools, sporting events and many workplaces closed their doors. Over the weekend, our governor told seniors to stay at home. By Tuesday, we were ordered to “shelter in place,” an unsettling term of art that modern Americans seem to hear all the time now — during wildfires, active shooter events and now when an unseen menace settles among us.

Suddenly, efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are as contagious as the virus itself. Here’s hoping we’ve done enough.

Those who study such things have long warned that this day could come, but most of us never imagined a world like this one. Many of our beloved Coastside traditions — those things that give this special place its own, unique spirit — are canceled or postponed. Pacific Coast Dream Machines, gone. Mel Mello Farm Day, gone. I.D.E.S. cioppino, the Half Moon Bay High School prom, Coastal Repertory productions — going, going, gone.

We are what’s left. And one of the most daunting, discombobulating and disheartening aspects of the coronavirus crisis is that we must go through this at a distance from one another. Six feet from our friends and colleagues. Hugs and hand-holding are so 2019, though heaven knows we could use some of that now.

Here is the truth: How we get from this horrible Point A to a Point B we still can’t see will define us for the next generation. Not since the so-called “Spanish flu” of 1918 has the world faced a common enemy quite like this one. The time for debating how dangerous coronavirus is over. The time to act is at hand. Let’s hope we are not too late.

Our most important weapon in this battle is credible information. Unfortunately, that does not often come from the president of the United States. That isn’t a partisan statement; simply a fact. Before Donald Trump had himself tested for the virus, he made a mockery of it. Until Sunday — weeks into the worldwide crisis — he’s behaved as if it were a personal affront rather than a public health crisis. It was a hoax. It would go away. He had it under control. 

Seek real, timely information from the San Mateo County Department of Health, the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Our ace in the hole is our own caring community of conscience. Your neighbors have pledged to help in many ways — by delivering meals to seniors, by donating online to our cultural organizations, by paying employees through the most uncertain financial times in our collective memory. The Coastside is not one of those places where no one knows his neighbor. Let that be a comfort.

Your local newspaper will do its part. We will continue to issue alerts to those who have signed up for them at hmbreview.com. We’ll publish updates on Facebook and Twitter (@hmbreview) throughout the days and nights to come. We’re encouraging readers to call us at 726-4424 rather than visit our office for the time being. By all means, if you know of any way we can help disseminate crucial information, let us know by emailing clay@hmbreview.com.

Listen, Thursday is the first day of spring, a time of renewal. It hardly seems possible in this dark baseball-less time. But, right now, I’ll take any excuse to look ahead. Yes, spring has come in the nick of time.

Clay Lambert is editor of the Half Moon Bay Review.

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