There is an African proverb that goes like this: “A family tie is like a tree; it might bend but it cannot break.”
Over the past few weeks, the COVID-19 crisis in the (British) Virgin Islands has escalated at record pace. As public health officials, along with other government, civic and community leaders, urgently continue to make best efforts to stop the spread of this deadly virus and its various emerging variants, so too should Virgin Islanders, whether at home or across the diaspora, come together with the single-minded focus of giving support.
Doctors, nurses, allied health workers, other health care professionals, frontline workers and first responders bear the heavy weight of providing acute care to COVID-19 patients, notwithstanding the personal toll on themselves and their immediate families. Each of them deserves our collective commendation and support. Thank you!
Similarly, each of us should continue to do our part to support keeping the community safe. The best way to accomplish this is by wearing masks, wearing them correctly, practicing good hand hygiene and social distancing protocols and by applying the best evidence-based or science-based interventions to prevent contracting the virus in the first place or, if contracted, to prevent the most harmful impacts of the virus on our health and health care system.
We also can be of support in other ways, such as by helping families in need that may have lost loved ones or by volunteering time and expertise in areas that are most critical or provide the highest level of service. Most importantly, we can encourage every member of our families and all of our friends and colleagues to do the same.
The hard fact is that each of us has been affected by this crisis; so, each of us must work together to support getting to the other side of it.
Whether tied by kinship, heritage, culture, history or common experiences, we are family. Like the proverbial tree, our tie is unbreakable.
Moleto A. Smith Jr.
Editor’s note: Moleto A. Smith is the president of the League of British Virgin Islanders. He is a St. Thomas resident who is the executive director of the St. Thomas East End Medical Center Corporation.