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For over a year, we have been stuck in a perpetual loop of the same tropes of fear, stories of sadness, and feelings of fatigue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to grieve our losses and continue to support our neighbors. We need to learn from the past, and we need to move forward.

As an epidemiologist with Tarrant County’s Public Health department supporting our COVID-19 response effort, I feel radical gratitude for so many of the unsung heroes in our community. I admire the boundless agility and empathy our directors of nursing at long-term care facilities exude for our more seasoned citizens and their families. I commend the small business owners who continually are innovating ways to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. I applaud the relentless respect so many of our fellow citizens practice by wearing a mask and protecting their friends, family, and selves.

While we have all uniquely experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, we, collectively, are standing at the tipping point. We hold the knowledge and power to defeat this pandemic and be better prepared for the next. Together, we have the opportunity and obligation to build and sustain a healthy collective here.

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There is a famous proverb, “A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness.” You, dear stranger, are the light that pushes away the darkness. You, dear stranger, are what inspires health-care professionals like me to love our jobs. You, dear stranger, are the solution to this pandemic and so much more. It takes a village, and together we are building a more resilient community here in Tarrant County. I, firsthand, have witnessed the emergent properties and results in our work, together.

There is an opportunity to maintain these relationships after we avert the immediate threat of the pandemic. There is an opportunity to continue to innovate and invest in tomorrow, today. America’s founding father Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Thank you, dear strangers, for your partnership today, and thank you, dear strangers, for your partnership tomorrow. — Joshua S. Yudkin


Joshua Yudkin, MPH MA, works as an epidemiologist with the Tarrant County Public Health Department. A doctoral student in epidemiology, he was recently awarded a Fulbright research grant and works at the intersection of community building and public health. He wrote this piece on his own volition. His views are his own and not necessarily those of the Fort Worth Weekly.


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