A new decade, a different test
It all started with a man in China who had flu-like symptoms in November 2019. He
was the first infected with a novel virus that would eventually have an impact
But those familiar with history’s lessons know the nature of a biological threat. It starts
slowly and grows rapidly. During the 14th Century, when plagues wiped out 30
percent to 60 percent of Europe’s population, they understood only slowly the threat’
s nature. Today we have science on our side and a system to hold it in check. This
virus isn’t necessarily a death sentence.
Still, the disruption is significant and the images are stark: The streets of major cities
empty, highways with far fewer vehicles, businesses closed and hospitals caring for
far too many patients, some dying from the coronavirus.
Just before we published, the U.S. death toll topped 23,000 and more than 113,000
worldwide. The virus forced us to keep our distance, and that has throttled the U.S.
economy in ways that are staggering.
It is appropriate that governments do what they can not only to tamp down the
danger, but to help Americans get through the terrible cost to the economy.
Americans are a resilient lot - the Depression, World War I and World War II, lesser
financial crises and other wars in the modern era - did not destroy us. We even won
the Cold War and many nations still look to us as the shining light, bright or dim,
shining nonetheless. Few can match our can-do attitude.
The need to keep our distance from others as a way to tamp down the spread has
caused widespread financial problems for business and their workers.
The virus has pushed the envelope on creativity, forcing many to work from home if
at all possible. But for some, hands-on is the only way to do business. Restaurants,
hotels, transportation and production lines all require being surrounded by others.
And notably, activities deemed important for the nation’s defense continue with some
modification. Shipbuilding, one of the key industries in this region, continues on
because of its importance to national security.
Weeks or months of sacrifice is not something that will break us, as long as we pay
close attention and ensure those most likely to break do not. As a nation we are
resilient and tough, but there are some who are less so but still deserve to not fall
through the net. In the final analysis, the United States is nothing if not its people.
Although we focus on aerospace, the virus has had an impact even on us. Two
stories fell through because of the changing situation. We’re hoping to have those
stories down the road.
For our region, we know all about the troubles that test us. We recovered from
hurricanes, oil spills and more. It’s not about being knocked down, but about getting
We want as badly as others to get back to normal and to see our economy ticking
again. Our livelihoods depend on it. But we recognize it has to be a balancing act
where we ensure all citizens can return to firm financial footing while still ensuring
their safety. We must err on the side of protecting life. The economy will come back.
Lives lost won’t.
- David Tortorano, editor