From the sounds of it, we can expect several months of “abnormal” before we return to any semblance of “normal.”
Arizona Gov. Ducey closed schools across the state Sunday, following the lead of other state governors and federal authorities who hope to slow the spread of the coronavirus. National broadcasters are telling us this illness represents the most devastating impact on America since the September 11, 2001 attack.
Sports at all levels — college and professional — have been cancelled for the immediate future. Some state executives have ordered bars, restaurants and other businesses to close, in an effort to prevent people from gathering and the virus from spreading.
The stock market has returned to levels not seen since The Great Recession took hold in 2008 and there is concern for massive layoffs and credit defaults. Many people who live paycheck-to-paycheck face the prospect of being unable to pay their bills.
Politicians are complaining that the federal response to this crisis was too slow. That testing for the virus has taken too long and not enough was done, soon enough, to prevent the inevitable spread of the coronavirus.
That’s looking backward.
Like it or not, Sierra Vista and Cochise County will once again have to pull together, support each other, and look forward to a brighter day.
That was certainly the case when the national economy collapsed a decade ago and Arizona — Cochise County — was a leading example of the impact. Economist Dr. Robert Careirra, who at the time served at Cochise College, likened the situation to the horrors of 1927 when America suffered the worst financial catastrophe in its history. The Sierra Vista-Douglas Metropolitan Area was ranked as the fourth worst local economy in the nation, with high unemployment, falling property values and decreasing population.
Almost a decade later, this region has steadily recovered. Housing construction has returned, employment at Fort Huachuca has returned to pre-recession levels and local governments are benefiting from higher sales tax collections and increased property assessments.
Despite the magnitude and potential consequences of what now lies before us, we can’t lose faith in each other and our collective investment in this community. Sierra Vista and Cochise County will survive this calamity, but only through the support we provide to each other.
Shop local as much as you can, support local businesses, including this newspaper.
Doing so will help this region recover that much faster.
This editorial first appeared in the Herald/Review.