When shelter in place first began, I heard the residents of Midtown Atlanta, my neighborhood, come out on their balconies every night at 8 p.m. to cheer, sing, and bang pots and pans in support of front line workers. I smiled from my own balcony window every evening when I heard the noise. At first, I did not make much more of it.
Following my exposures, I had an outpouring of support from my colleagues, friends, and family. In a now-virtual community, everyone came together to make sure I was okay both physically and emotionally. Gratitude only begins to describe the emotion I felt with every text, call, video chat, balcony cheer, and donation made to local hospitals.
If there is anything I have learned from being on the frontlines, it is that we as Americans can come together as we never have before in most of our lifetimes. We can be there for each other and zoom with one another and holler from one balcony to the next. In this moment of free-fall, perhaps that is the most important lesson that endures. Every socially distanced cheer and virtual hug aggregates to real social cohesion. Supporting one another is always our strongest asset.
By the way, my test was negative.
Lakshmi Sridharan, M.D., is an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist and an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. She shares experiences like this one on her podcast, This COVID Life. The views expressed here are solely her own.