Choose wisely


3/26/2020, 6 p.m.
The worst of times can bring out the best in people.

The worst of times can bring out the best in people.

That’s what we are seeing in many parts of the Richmond area and around the nation as people cope with the coronavirus that has changed life as we know it.

Among the scores of small and large acts of kindness:

A local pizza shop donates food to first responders, hospital workers, grocery store workers and others on the front lines.

Nurses at assisted living facilities that are closed to all visitors use FaceTime and WhatsApp to call family members so they can see and hear their loved ones during the lockdown.

Richmond Animal Care and Control opens a pet pantry outside its Chamberlayne Avenue office for people to pick up pet food and cat litter at no charge. People also are donating pet food and treats to the pantry.

Restaurant owners and workers start a fund to help their laid off colleagues when unemployment benefits aren’t enough to pay the bills.

Horse racing betting parlors around the state, which have been shut down under the governor’s latest COVID-19 orders, are shifting their kitchens to provide a collective 20,000 “grab and go” meals to front line workers during the pandemic.

Local craft stores are teaching people how to make face masks for their own use or for others.

Amazon offers free audiobooks for schoolchildren now learning from home.

Superstar Rihanna is donating $5 million through her Clara Lionel Foundation for personal protective equipment, medical supplies and equipment for front line health workers to accelerate COVID-19 testing in Haiti, Malawi and other countries and to food banks serving the elderly and at-risk communities around the United States.

These actions remind us of our interconnectedness and the importance, particularly now, of checking on and helping in some way family members, friends, neighbors and others — even people we don’t know.

Our actions, our decisions, about staying home, avoiding gatherings, maintaining social distance, covering our coughs and sneezes with a tissue or in our elbow and washing our hands frequently can make a difference in the overall health of the Richmond area and how quickly we get on the other side of this pandemic.

Unfortunately, there are always insensitive and selfish people who have little regard for the public good.

Take for instance, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, who invited the more than 1,000 students back to the Lynchburg campus on Tuesday following spring break, saying they can take their online courses on campus.

An ardent Trump supporter, Mr. Falwell doesn’t believe in the advice of medical experts or good public health.

Then there’s U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who made use of the Senate gym’s pool, attended a Republican luncheon and kept working at the Capitol while waiting for his coronavirus test results, which turned out to be positive.

That’s how we get community spread of COVID- 19.

His test results led two other senators to go into self-quarantine.

Then there are the out-and-out profiteers — the price gougers intent on making big bucks for scarce and desperately needed face masks, disinfecting wipes and other items.