by Jack Howell
The way out is through.
— Robert Frost
Yesterday I went for a walk. As a woman walking her dog approached, I moved to my right, to the edge of the sidewalk up against a picket fence. When she drew to about ten paces away, she left the sidewalk and passed me walking down the middle of the street. The thought was clear, why take a chance? It seems like forever ago when we all sat together for concerts, when musicians greeted concertgoers in the lobby and shook hands without a second thought.
There are people who don’t have the option of crossing the street to avoid the slightest chance of inhaling air exhaled by another human. While the rest of us draw apart (hopefully) to save ourselves and each other, our health care professionals spend their days in direct contact with sick people. They live with the knowledge that gloves and masks, even if there are enough of them, will only do so much. Most of them will be exposed, many will become ill, and some will die. We have all seen the stories from Italy and New York and know how bad it can get; these are magnificently brave people who are not deterred by risk, or exhaustion, or trauma.
However long it is before we greet you again in Heinz Hall, it will be the longest road for our doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, paramedics, all health care workers. We are proud to have in our orchestra several families that include medical professionals. Their photos are above. We ask you to join us in thanking ALL health care workers, and, more importantly, we ask you to keep them in mind as you make choices in your life that impact your chances of contracting or transmitting Coronavirus. We’re all in this together.