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I am frustrated. I am tired. Yet, I am hopeful.

I am new to covering a pandemic. I don’t understand the ins and outs of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act enough to put up a good fight but I try — with every new case reported I try.

Sometimes I wonder is it really that important to know — does person A or person B become the next Typhoid Mary? The next Elephant Man? Do they become ostracized and shunned? Do they become a spectacle for our morbid curiosity when all they need is isolation or quarantine, access to medical care, love and support?

I’m still weighing that in my mind and while many of our social media readers are demanding to know specific locations, my thought from the very first case reported in Halifax County was you’d be singing a different tune if one of your family members was included in the statistics. With every case reported I try.

Treat it as if it’s all over the county, continue your social distancing and call your doctor if you feel any symptoms.


Because of my Type 2 diabetes diagnosis last year, I’m a target. Most of the reliable material I’ve read reference uncontrolled diabetes but in a televisit with my provider, I’m still thrown in the mix and I continue to keep it under control.

I’ve practically become a vegetarian these days and I don’t mind. Maybe when things get back to normal, I’ll order a grilled chicken salad, maybe a steak, but I’m OK.

I’m down to one Metformin a day now, have been off insulin three months short of a year.

Because we had a televisit, we couldn’t draw blood for the A1C test. It was 5.4 after my January visit and I hope, if my appointment stays good for July, it will remain at 5.4 or be a little lower.

Walking has turned into running, or in my case a fast walk of a little more than 3 miles now.

I was disappointed the Roanoke Canal Half Marathon and 8K was postponed. I had signed up for the 8K — just to show diabetes who the boss really is.


When things return to normal. 

A return to normal may be wishful thinking.

But even this pandemic is nothing new and measures in place now are quite similar to ones in place during the influenza pandemic of 1918.

I just finished The Great Influenza by John M. Barry.

It is a worthwhile read if you can get past the grisly details — the bodies piled up in cities such as Philadelphia and New York.

The difference between now and then is we went to war and soldiers carried the virus. World War I remains a mystery to me because we really had no skin in that game. There was no sick dictator like Adolf Hitler running amuck then, no one bombed Pearl Harbor.

I wouldn’t have liked Woodrow Wilson if I lived back in that time. Censorship was greater then than it was during World War II or the Civil War.

The government and the press downplayed the pandemic.

We are taking it seriously now, precautions are everywhere and they essentially follow the same guidelines as set in 1918.

The book covers the researchers, the scientists and all the players trying to stop the spread.

And it pays great tribute to the nurses, the ones on the frontlines.

One excerpt which struck me said, “Nursing could ease the strains on a patient, keep a patient hydrated, resting, calm, provide the best nutrition, cool the intense fevers. Nursing could give a victim of the disease the best possible chance to survive. Nursing could save lives.”

As true today as it was 102 years ago.


I feel sometimes like we’re in a dystopian novel or movie — 1984, Brazil, Lord of the Flies, Idiocracy.

People throw the words lockdown and quarantine around. We’re not really in a lockdown. No one has said keep yourself locked inside. Minimize your travel, conduct your essential business, see your doctor and get your prescriptions.

The dystopian feel of this hit me when I traded essential oils I bought to make hand sanitizer for actual hand sanitizer.

People are wearing masks — I have one and use it when I go to the grocery store. 

People have become greedy — they hoard. I ran out of Lysol but have found Barbicide will do the same thing. Barbicide is the blue stuff you sometimes see combs floating in at barbershops.

It’s just as effective as Lysol.

We’ve been brainwashed by the toilet paper industry to think we need it. Not wanting to get into the TMI — too much information — department, but it’s an unnecessary luxury. Soap and water is where it’s at. Ask anyone from the Philippines. They’ll tell you the same thing.

The political angle on this is unbearable. Stop saying it’s the same thing as a cold. While coronavirus is the cause of the common cold and SARS — what we’re experiencing now is called the novel coronavirus, meaning new. Don’t buy into what ill-informed politicians are telling you — this isn’t the common cold.


I am frustrated. I am tired. Yet, I am hopeful.

When I do my Seventh Street route, I pass by this sign near Georgetown Apartments. This morning I stopped to snap a photo of it. It makes me smile.

Despite being frustrated and tired, I am hopeful.

I see people making the best of the situation. I see people out on their morning walks and runs. We greet each other and I say keep running — or walking — through this.

I see people like Riley Mills and the hearts he has painted at businesses. Support them.

Weldon Mills Distillery is making hand sanitizer. AmeriCap in Enfield has started making masks. 

I see people using the Roanoke Canal Trail. It is my haven for weekend runs and I’m glad more people are discovering it.

Seeing the sun rise over the Roanoke River is a beautiful sight. To see deer darting away as you approach is great and you gain appreciation for their grace and strength.

People, government and churches are improvising. I covered the Halifax County commissioners meeting by phone.

Most businesses are open and they should be. We can’t stomach a complete shutdown. I can’t stomach a complete shutdown.

Restaurants are improvising and even musicians are taking their songs to livestream concerts.

What I’m most hopeful for is that the politicians who divide us and themselves come together and realize we have to reduce and obliterate our dependence on China and bring jobs back here. Give incentives if you have to, but bring them back. Money spent that way is better than spending it on wars.

One of the slogans in 2016 was Make America Great Again. It was already great but it can be greater if we can find the will and want to reopen closed factories and give our people jobs.

A pipedream, perhaps. But sometimes great things are built on nothing but hope alone. And while I’m frustrated and tired, I’m still hopeful — Lance Martin