Every day, I get emails and phone calls from people telling me that only six months ago, life smiled at them, and now they’re at a loss. Their world has crumbled and they see no future. It’s heartbreaking. With every passing day, humanity is feeling more and more helpless, agitated and disoriented. People are afraid they will not be able to feed their children.

But what is happening is not some punishment from above; it is a calling to unite, to think about each other rather than ourselves. Only if we work together will we be able to guarantee our future. Acting alone and worrying only about ourselves, as we have done for so long, will only exacerbate the situation. The longer we stall, the more people will join the circle of scarcity.

COVID-19 is the ideal catalyst of mutual responsibility: If we don’t wear masks and keep our distance, we will not only risk catching the virus, there is even more of a chance we will transmit it to others. Just as the virus mandates that we think about not transmitting the bug to others, we have to start thinking about others when it comes to food, water, housing and power supply.

We have to teach ourselves and others about our interdependency, that we are tightly connected and dependent on everyone, including people that for one reason or another we currently hate. We are all in this together, the whole city, the whole country, the whole world.

If too many people get sick, food production and supply chains will be hampered and hunger will drive people into far worse desperation than we have seen so far, and we have seen a lot. If every community, city, state and the whole country pulls together to see that every American gets the basic needs, just the staples, because they understand that we are all in the same boat, it is enough to set the country off to a new, good future. And then we will see that for all the pain that the coronavirus has inflicted, it is not a punishment, but a lesson in mutual responsibility.

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