As We Move Forward

Summertime is here, and Ventura County is slowly opening up. Restaurants are welcoming diners in for table service (at a reduced capacity, with social distancing), people are starting to hit the beaches and trails more regularly, some are even getting a long-awaited haircut. But we find ourselves coming out of lockdown into a nation shaken by protests and social unrest. Amidst the relief and release there is fear and uncertainty.

This is a good time to talk about health and wellness, the themes around which we build our June issue. And right now, there is certainly a lot to talk about! We’ve tried to look at the COVID-19 pandemic from a few different angles — history, emotions, creativity — but reserved for our cover the men and women who make up the trauma team at Ventura County Medical Center.

The Trauma Center sees some of the scariest injuries: bad falls, car accidents, burns, gunshot wounds. It’s a place where every second is critical, and treating patients within that “golden hour” — the first 60 minutes — is crucial to a positive outcome. Trauma centers rely on a dedicated team of medical specialists who operate almost as a race car’s pit crew. They are fast, smart, coordinated and thorough. Reaching the finish line doesn’t mean a gold cup or a monetary prize, but saving a life. VCMC’s Trauma Center celebrates 10 years of operation this month, and we salute them with an in-depth profile.

In this issue we also look at the emotional landscape the coronavirus has left in its wake, and the role creativity played in making sense of it all. The global art project known as Art in the time of Corona™️ is, in many ways, the story of us — our thoughts, feelings, experiences, truths — reflected through a multifaceted artistic prism. Jarring, provocative, contemplative, sometimes hopeful . . . these works are visual representations of the minds and souls of the artists, but touch upon many of the things all of us, across the world, are experiencing, too.

Something that comes up again and again in discussions of COVID-19 is that other great pandemic, the Spanish flu of 1918. With that in mind, we interviewed Ventura historian Cynthia Thompson, who reviewed the archives to gain some insight into how our community contended with that disease, and what lessons might be relevant to these times.

The Spanish flu was 102 years ago, making the situation with which the world grapples now unprecedented for pretty much anyone alive today. The fight for justice and equality, however, is all too familiar. As we tentatively work our way out from lockdown — socially distanced, faces be-masked, concerned with injustice, unrest and uncertainty — it’s beneficial to recognize that we’ve been here before. As we reckon with the “new normal,” let us strive to build something better.

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