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From The Chief Editor's Desk

I think if I hear "in these uncertain times" or "in these difficult times" one more time, I'm going to S-C-R-E-A-M! Of course these are uncertain/difficult times. The world hasn't had to deal with a pandemic on this scale in over 100 years. Anything that disrupts our daily routine, and thus life, makes things uncertain and/or difficult.

Humans, by their nature, are nothing at all if they are not creatures of habit. We tend to dislike anything that goes against the established "norm" and anything that changes our deeply rooted routines. Difficulty induces change. Change creates uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds chaos. Chaos gives birth to adaptation. It's the same merry-go-round we've been riding since before we evolved to walk upright. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Besides being creatures of habit, humans are also very adaptable. Just take a look around at how many climates we thrive in. Humans live and thrive in climates from the frozen extremes to the equatorial tropics ... and everything in between offered by our planet. The same can be said for economic systems, governmental systems, social systems, and just about every other type of "system" you can think of.

All of this contributes to one main point: humans are survivors. The gifts of logic, thought, ingenuity, adaptability, and many more attributes make humans able to survive a lot of variables that are thrown our way. We have survived floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, fire, pestilence, oppression, aggression, and disease. On this latter variable, we have survived polio, smallpox, bubonic plague, measles, mumps, colds, influenza, and a whole host of other diseases that have attempted to thin our numbers out. Such will be the case with this latest assault on humanity by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Which brings me completely full circle, back to the beginning of this article. Saying "in these uncertain times" or "in these difficult times" does nothing to ease the stresses that most of the population has experienced as a result of the lockdown that most of the global citizenry has experienced through its response to the pandemic. Instead, it sounds and feels very disingenuous, dishonest and insincere. It's whole goal is to make the person saying those trite phrases feel better. And frankly, I neither need nor want the false sympathies.

What's more important going forward through this pandemic isn't the false sympathies and fake platitudes. It is how you handle yourself, and that you make good, sound decisions. Be cautious, because the longer the pandemic goes on, the greater the chance that you'll let your guard down. It's also likely that you might not make your usual sound decisions, because your normal feedback system (lack of contact with your usual group of friends and acquaintances) has been disrupted. Just as you might imagine, this has been studied.

Physician/researcher Donald A. Redelmeier and behavioral scientist Eldar Shafir just published a study (PDF) in the Lancet medical journal addressing exactly these possible pitfalls. Since most countries around the world are looking at relaxing the lockdown orders, most people might assume that the worst of the pandemic is over. But that couldn't possibly be farther from the truth.

It's still important to safeguard yourself and your loved ones. Keep maintaining social distancing. Wear masks when out in public. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cannot access soap and water for proper handwashing. Cover your cough and sneeze properly. If you're not feeling well, stay away from others. Avoid crowds and situations where proper social distancing cannot be maintained.

This pandemic is far from over. Don't. Let. Your. Guard. Down.

On a side note, this month's cover celebrates Space Day, which happens the first Friday of May. This year, that occurs on May 1. The cover was designed by Meemaw.

Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity, prosperity ... and continued good health! Stay vigilant!

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