Baird: We can overcome this
We donít have to turn on the television to be reminded of the pain and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all familiar with the stress it is causing our families, our neighbors, and our communities.
But Americans have shown time after time that we can overcome any challenge.
As Hoosiers, we ought to take great pride in the fact that we have taken the peak off the curve. I am proud of those who are social-distancing and caring for each other.
In one way or another, everyone has sacrificed something during these challenging times. Teachersí classrooms sit empty, student-athletes are missing an entire season of their sport, businesses have closed their doors and grandparents are unable to visit their grandkids.
Yet, the pain of putting our lives on temporary hold has saved our health care providers from being overwhelmed and saved lives.
Gov. Holcomb recently extended the stay-at-home order until May 1. I know this extension has many families and small-business owners concerned about how they will be able to pay the bills and keep their doors open. I too am concerned and want to work toward a path of re-opening, while being smart and safe.
In Congress, we passed the CARES Act to help alleviate some of the pressure for Hoosier families. While itís imperfect and more still needs done, the legislation included direct financial payments to individuals and families, strengthened state unemployment benefits and allows small businesses to apply for forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The Small Business Administration has approved about 36,000 loans with $7.5 billion committed to the state of Indiana. The demand for these loans has been high and the program recently exhausted its resources. We must replenish the fund to assist businesses still waiting for help.
I encourage you to take a moment to recognize all the heroes whoíve answered the call during this crisis. The tireless work of doctors and nurses in treating our sick, the truckdrivers working through the night to ensure our stores stay stocked, the grocery store workers enduring long hours and the farmers who provide our families food for our tables ó we are forever grateful.
A few mothers in Putnam County came together to make masks for first responders. Jordan Manufacturing in Monticello shifted its production line to make isolation gowns for hospitals. Ikonik Graphix in Delphi is making clips for respirators. General Motors in Kokomo is manufacturing ventilators. Hoosiers are volunteering at their local food bank to help feed their neighbors. Farmers and ranchers continue to replenish the food chain even when the profitability is uncertain.
While we have been forced to stay physically apart, we have become closer than ever as a community.
Iíve been inspired by the actions and kindness of my fellow Hoosiers. Iím confident in our ability and determination to overcome this virus and move forward together.