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EDITORIAL: Don't just look for helpers; become one in COVID-19 fight
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EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL: Don't just look for helpers; become one in COVID-19 fight

COVID-19 in the Region

A medical worker speaks with a patient during drive-thru COVID-19 testing March 18 outside the emergency room at Franciscan Health hospital in Crown Point.

Look for the helpers.

The late, great Fred Rogers, an icon of children's television in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, once asked us all to do this in times of great strife.

The coronavirus certainly places us in one of those times as a Region, nation and world.

Our Region is rising to the occasion, and you don't have to look far to find those helpers Mister Rogers told us to look for.

Now we must ensure those best of examples spread like a contagion throughout our state and country as we all join the battle to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Look first to our Region's front-line medical workers, who despite a well-documented lack of the best protective equipment are testing, treating and safeguarding as best as humanly possible the people of the Region in the face of a global pandemic.

They do this at potential peril to their own health and that of their families.

We must support them by demanding the best equipment be given to them at all possible speed.

We must heed the calls of Region, state and national health experts in staying home as much as possible, isolating and quarantining if we show symptoms of the disease and distancing ourselves from others in public. Those are the best ways of supporting our front-line medical workers.

In these trying times, look also to the building and trades associations and volunteers who are spearheading efforts to donate protective masks to our front-line workers — or sew them together by hand if necessary.

Even some of our Region's purveyors of spirits are getting into the act.

In a scene reminiscent of the World War II efforts to turn industrial factories into manufacturers of wartime equipment, Region distilleries are turning, in part, from booze production to the manufacturing of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to make up for a shortage on the medical front lines and in the general public.

Journeyman Distillery, a Michigan-based company with a Region foothold, and 18th Street Distillery in Hammond are both doing this in a stroke of great service and innovation.

It must not end here.

Other state and Region businesses, manufacturers and government leaders must be asking of themselves what role they can play in this crucial fight.

As more of us become sick with this virus, particularly the elderly, there are fears our capacity to provide respirators and other medical care will be strained.

Are there manufacturers in our state and Region positioned to switch course and feed this need? If so, they should consider doing so with all possible haste. Our elected leaders should be shouting this challenge from the highest vantage points.

We can do this.

Look for the helpers.

But more importantly, become a helper wherever you can.

Gallery: World responds to threat, reality of coronavirus

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Regional News Editor Sharon Ross, Assistant Deputy Editor Andrew Steele.

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