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Today, ‘good neighbors’ means heeding direction of medical experts – The Buffalo News

Alex Long

COVID-19 is having a tremendous impact on our communities. Op-Ed written for "Another Voice" Op-Ed section of the Buffalo News, by Alex Long, Buffalo, NY native.

I vividly remember the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006 – my peers and I watched from our sixth grade classroom as snow began to fall, increasing in magnitude throughout the afternoon. Nardin Academy’s then-principal used the PA system to assure us eager students (and likely the eager teachers as well) to calm down and not expect our favorite event as Buffalonian children: a snow day.

For those who don’t recall, this was Day 1 of the “October Surprise,” or, as it is officially known, “Lake Storm Aphid.” If you were in Buffalo during the October Surprise, you may remember sounds, like a gunshot, from trees succumbing to the wet heavy snow on their leaves; images of loose power lines; and stories of associated deaths and hospitalizations. Or maybe it’s the memories of neighbors combing the streets checking on friends and family, digging cars out of the snow and working with the disaster response professionals to, literally, weather the storm.

I think back to these harrowing and heartening moments now, with the impending spread and consistent messaging about COVID-19 rising to a near inescapable level. With talk of school closures, food stockpiling and isolation, the parallels are clear. The one discrepancy that I’m happy to report: COVID-19 does not have to be a surprise.

This op-ed was originally posted in the Buffalo News; to keep reading, please visit their website.

About the Author

Alex Long

Alex Long

Program Associate
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The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) brings foresight to the frontier. Our experts explore emerging technologies through vital conversations, making science policy accessible to everyone.  Read more