We often live in our own digital and social bubbles, where our assumptions are reinforced and our perspectives narrowed. In normal times it's easy not to think about this, but in facing a highly contagious virus, these differences can become dangerous.
We as a society have such different perspectives on what information is valuable, where to find information, and how to communicate and behave. There are so many different languages and communities, the digital divide, and different amounts of information being published for each and every group.
It's a worrying thought that some of our neighbors are not being as well protected from coronavirus because they are not getting good information. It really shows how powerful information, and the control of it, is.
Some of us have clearly got the message: unless you're an essential worker, stay home. Going for a walk is great for your mental and physical health, but stay distant from others. Wash your hands and clean everyday items, especially your phone.
But the information clearly hasn't reached all of us. On my daily walk through Greenpoint, I still see people standing close, congregating in groups, hugging their friends like nothing has changed.
I don't know if people are ignoring the warnings or simply haven't heard them.
For the clearest and user friendly information, you can find it online at www1.nyc.gov/site/doh.
There are essential fact sheets in numerous language, and each includes guidance for individuals, safety and health tips, when to contact medical help, what other kinds of financial help and services are available, and guides for parents and workers.
If you are having trouble with housing issues, there are a variety of organizations you can still call, including tenant lawyers who may be willing to give you a free consultation over the phone.
I will profile other kinds of help available in greater depth in the coming weeks.
This is a time when real, clear, empathetic leadership that considers multiple perspectives will really, really matter. We are all in this together, no matter if we regularly communicate or not.
Please help our community by getting good access to information and sharing it.