These are not the best of times in our islands.
COVID — and the threat of it is everywhere. Its effects seep into all our islands, whether they are COVID-free or not.
We talk of testing, tracing, quarantine, social distancing and the 3Ws with familiarity.
In Guam, our numbers of positive cases and deaths have made the news everywhere.
In Guam, we have been subjected to political rhetoric, and worse.
As our numbers have risen, people have pointed fingers. Where is the COVID coming from, they ask?
In the Northern Mariana Islands, there is practically palpably more fear of COVID than in Guam, and an understandable desire to keep COVID at bay and avoid community spread.
The Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands have prepared for COVID as best they can. While keeping COVID at bay, they are grappling equally hard with how to safely bring citizens home.
Figuring large in that process is the desire to safely sequester residents before and after travel, until those islands can welcome them again into the community.
Our economies in the islands — as elsewhere — are bearing the burden also.
This paper continually reports on businesses that lose the economic battle.
But it is a time to work together as never before. We need to not only talk of progress, but equally to make progress.
Our people line up for bags of food, they line up at government agencies, they line up at banks, and at grocery stores. They wait for haircuts, and to see vets.
We are patient in the islands, but we need to move forward with more support of opening businesses in Guam.
Hawaii has opened for tourism with a pre-flight testing program
The FSM is talking to the U.S. military about a partnership to bring its people home.
There are solutions.
We need to work harder to execute them. mbj