Portland, Maine--Where America's day begins and begins.
Guam, a U.S. territory, west of the international dateline likes to say that this is where America's day begins. Maine, the farthest point east of the 50 states is where the sun first rises on the continental U.S. and Mainers like to say that this is where America's day begins.
They are both right.
I have the privilege of having lived in Guam and Maine, both beautiful places with beautiful people. For Guam and Maine, both experienced their first positive test of the coronavirus on Friday the 13th.
Three cases of coronavirus were first detected on Guam Friday the 13th and apparently two of three cases came from residents transiting back from Manila.
In Maine three cases were also first detected on Friday the 13th. One of the cases is a 12 year old boy from Cape Elizabeth, not that far from where we live.
Another case was an 80 year old resident of Oceanview, a retirement home in Cumberland County, also not far from where we live.
As I read the various media online editions from Guam each day, I was able to see reports of the impact of Friday's news from Guam. Food and Supply panic buying, and closure of government, schools and churches.
Also, the Guam Medical Association is recommending a quarantine of the island with a shutdown of all flights for two weeks.
In Maine, as I write this (Monday, March 16), unprecedented things are happening. While there were three cases detected Friday, today the number of cases has grown to 17, most of these being in Cumberland County and many of them thought to be spread through community transmission.
Unheard of events have just happened here:
- A curfew called for the City of Portland starting Tuesday
- Ski Resorts closing early for the season
- LL Bean closing all their stores, including the Freeport flagship store that never closes
- most schools have closed
- most restaurants closing
- mass panic buying of many food supplies
These two very different geographic gems of America have been thrust full force into the fight of the coronavirus.
With challenge comes opportunity.
We now have the opportunity to improve the following:
- Our processes of infection prevention
- Our regular health and diet habits
- The way we treat others
- The way we look out for our neighbor who may need some help getting groceries or supplies
As Americans on Guam and in Maine we will get through this, and there is a silver lining: At least we won't have to worry about anyone TP'ing our yards for a while!
Theodore Lewis is former CEO of Guam Memorial Hospital and has a healthcare consulting business based out of Portland, Maine. He is collecting stories about lessons learned in life and can be reached at email@example.com.