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We're all paying a lot more attention to our thumbs these days. At least we should be, as part of our new (for most people) regimen of washing hands thoroughly and frequently in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Some experts say thumbs should get their own special attention in the hands-washing process - fingers, in between, and palms, then thumbs. Wash all that bad stuff down the drain.

You can trust our thumbs today. They're freshly washed and ready.

Give’em a thumb

Want to give some brief feedback on news? Someone who deserves a pat on the back? An idea that needs a dose of common sense? Recommend a “Thursday thumb” by calling Greg Harton at (479) 872-5026 or by email at [email protected]

Although a crisis is always worth avoiding, life doesn't always work out that way. And in the midst of it all, if we pay attention, we might notice some things or people who usually don't get much of our attention. One thing we've noted is it has given Arkansans a chance to see some of their public health officials in action. Dr. Nate Smith of the Arkansas Department of Health has become a familiar face over the last couple of weeks in the governor's daily briefings about the covid-19 response. How many of us knew who he was three or four weeks ago? But he's demonstrated strong, science-based leadership for our state from a health care perspective. He's been a seriously calm voice of reason, in the governor's ear and in speaking to the public. How glad we are there are professionals like him who are willing to take on the job of anticipating public health needs most of us simply don't think about very often.

Being a bit constrained as to what we can go and do these days, a lot of us have leapt at opportunities to get out and about, such as taking walks. That's a good thing. We've noticed, though, during a few of our walks houses with six, seven or eight cars beyond the normal number. Clearly, some people haven't paid attention to the concerns about group gatherings. Having 15-20 people over is not social distancing, to use the popular term. Such gatherings are unwise and they don't just endanger the people who attend, but all the people those people will come into contact with. This coronavirus is eager to spread from host to host quite easily. Dinner parties and other group gatherings can wait. We like the idea of a friend who threw a virtual happy hour, using technology to gather friends for conversation and a little imbibing. All of us can manage to avoid larger groups for the short term, for the good of everyone.

We couldn't help but be absorbed by a story in the Democrat-Gazette Business Section explaining how toilet paper production is ramping up. Here's hoping they get on a roll. And, of course, that people recognize they're helping their neighbors by not buying too much at once whenever they do find it in stock. Just buy normal volumes and let others have a chance to get some. In any case, the story noted that the nation is fortunate that most of its toilet paper supply is manufactured right here in North America. Maybe there's something to that.

The changes to our lives are certainly challenging, but the situation also inspires people to do some really great things as we appreciate the face-to-face connections we've had to give up for a little while. For example, the newspaper carried a photo the other day of Vandergriff Elementary teachers and staff in Fayetteville when they formed a "parade" of cars and drove through a part of town where many of their students live. It was a friendly reminder that they're thinking about and missing their students. What a nice gesture.

Humor isn't a cure, but it sure goes a long way helping us to cope with our difficulties. Social media has been a gift at least so far as delivering the humor with which people continue to tackle these challenging times. "Saw my neighbor out this morning scraping the "My kid is a terrific student" sticker off her minivan," one post said. "Guess that first week of homeschooling didn't go that well." Then there are the folks who've decided, with a whole extra year, that they'll now be able to train for the Olympics. And if there are any collectors out there whose specialty is store shelves, social media is giving you a treasure trove. Sure, covid-19 is serious business, but we appreciate all the humor.

Commentary on 03/26/2020

Print Headline: Thursday's thumbs

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