How We Get Through This

Walks around my neighborhood are keeping me sane right now

As we settle into our second stay-at-home order in the Bay Area, I’ll be honest: it’s a bit of a struggle to offer new words of guidance, comfort, or advice. No one needs to be reminded of how hard a time this is — we’re all living it. Many of us had to make tough phone calls to loved ones to let them know we wouldn’t be gathering for Thanksgiving. And we’ll have to do it again for Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years.

The unusual holiday season, of course, is piling on top of the many reasons folks are struggling right now. With unemployment rates and business closures still very high, people in our communities are fighting to pay rent and mortgages, to feed their families, and generally make ends meet. And with COVID-19 infection rates rising, we are losing too many people to this horrible virus.

With the rapid surge of infections and the diminishing capacity of our ICUs, our counties made the very difficult decision to return to a stay-at-home order. You can read more about what’s allowed and what’s not here. (TLDR; don’t gather with anyone outside of your household, stay home when you can, and no more outdoor dining for the time being.)

It’s going to be tough to get through the next couple of months. But I have faith that we can do this. After all, we did it before and we made it — and that was when there was no vaccine on the horizon.

We need to hang in there in the meantime, and try to stay as safe as possible. Our community has already done an excellent job beating back the virus — we’ve had much better health outcomes than most of the country. That’s because of your sacrifices and hard work.

And to be clear, everything about 2020 has been hard work: it’s hard work to make ends meet right now with a rapidly shifting economic landscape and little help from the federal government as we’re expected to stay home and close businesses. It’s hard work not to see family and friends, to be stuck at home without access to some of the things that normally bring us joy. It’s hard work to face down so much uncertainty and still persevere.

I personally believe in a “harm reduction” model, which is the framework many public health experts use when it comes to realistically keeping the public as safe as possible — given risks that people are likely to take — from health threats. What does harm reduction look like when it comes to COVID-19?

We are getting closer to this nightmare being behind us. So hang in there and stay as safe as possible. This community’s response to the pandemic continues to inspire me, and I know we will come out of this pandemic stronger than when we went in — with a commitment to build a better healthcare system and to address the massive inequities the pandemic has exposed.

As always, my office is here to answer any of your questions and provide support or help, whether around unemployment benefits, possible eviction, food benefits, or other needs.

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Scott Wiener

CA State Senator. Urbanist. Environmentalist. Advocate for transit, housing, clean energy, criminal justice reform, health, ending poverty. Democrat. 🏳️‍🌈