As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep us self quarantined, physically distanced, and on the brink of going any which way but loose, there is so much to talk about that is good, bad, and downright ugly.
Let me concentrate on the good. Your soul and emotional health is too precious to parse out the negative here.
The automotive industry has completely stepped up on many fronts. Deliveries of ventilators, masks, protection equipment, and other materials have been coming out of the production plants where they are needed. Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen – to name a few – have stepped up through solo and collaborative efforts to produce and distribute these items to hospitals and public safety departments across the USA.
In addition, the industry has also added their resources to help those who are in need during these challenging times. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles helped out to distribute up to one million meals to school children in areas near their production facilities. Hyundai opened up drive-through COVID-19 testing facilities at 22 hospitals in the hardest hit cities. Mitsubishi turned their efforts towards helping a local non-profit in the Nashville area by providing an Outlander PHEV to help their efforts in serving the community.
These are just a handful of efforts by the automotive industry done in the name of corporate citizenship. In times of need, you will know who is willing to help and come through with their efforts. That is how these companies are acting upon the call for help from those who need it.
These efforts are welcomed on a broader scale. From all indicators, these efforts will continue as long as there is a need to fulfill. That need persists as this pandemic is showing no signs of going away.
We are still seeing more cases of COVID-19. The death rate is still climbing, as the healthcare system and the community at large have been challenged by this virus. A close relative of a colleague of mine passed away due to her exposure to COVID-19. Many are predicting more cases, including a second wave of infections, in the months to come.
There has been some glimmer of hope. In several locations, the rate of COVID-19 cases has started to drop, along with the death rate from this virus. People are coming out of this recovered, including several celebrities. A friend of mine in the Denver area just recovered from this virus.
We continue to live under government orders to stay at home and flatten the curve against this virus. These orders and guidelines continue to affect even the largest events worldwide. Aside from concerts, sporting events, and auto shows, events such as Monterey Car Week and the largest LGBT Pride events in this country have been canceled or postponed. Oktoberfest in Munich has been canceled for 2020, as well. Other events are on the brink of either being canceled or postponed, such as the Minnesota State Fair.
In the meantime, frustrations have been rising because of these government orders. Without getting into detail or giving attention to anyone or any entity involved, the need for freedom has been challenged during these times. The majority of people have been adhering to these guidelines, but you do see the cracks in our society that are allowing for some opening up of the economy in several locations.
Will these opening efforts help the economy and the overall welfare of society? That will be monitored to see how it will affect those specific communities.
What we truly need is good tidings. That came in a video from MotorWeek and its host John Davis. Davis takes us for a drive around downtown Annapolis, Maryland across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Kent Island in a Porsche Macan to show the world that driving is indeed a form of social/physical distancing.
In the meantime, there continues to be ways to keep ourselves safe at home. You may have heard that former Boogie Down Productions member D-Nice has been attracting hundreds of thousands of followers to his DJ sets online. Questlove of The Roots did four days of DJ sets to pay tribute to Prince, along with other live online sets. After surviving his bout with COVID-19, producer DJ Jazzy Jeff (former collaborator with actor Will Smith) came back to some of his online sets.
SiriusXM Shade 45 host Sway Calloway has been doing "Bedroom Bars" on Instagram featuring both up-and-coming MCs and some of the legends of Hip Hop. Elsewhere on the satellite service, John Fogerty and his sons Shane and Tyler did a few songs live and online.
What is happening here is another form of flattening the curve. Distractions help to keep our minds off of the troubles of the universe. Keeping busy also helps. That is what I have been trying to do. With vehicles arriving again for editorial use, I can now concentrate on working with these vehicles and putting out new content for them. It helps to relax and not get stressed out by the screaming on social media and in the universe.
With that said, Davis and his producers at MotorWeek are right. Driving is a form of social/physical distancing and a great equalizer in one’s emotional health.
Please continue to stay safe and healthy.
Cover photo: "Calm in a quiet storm." All photos by Randy Stern