The past decade has witnessed perhaps the greatest degree of polarization of the American public in the country’s history. It has permeated and impacted society in far-reaching ways.

When road rage leads to murder, as happened in New York’s Park Slope neighborhood this past week, society has to recognize there is a problem.

When expletives are hurled at a president of the United States by movie stars, NBA basketball players and the like, introspection is required.

When the media pumps out news that is not fit for print, and cannot be backed up by facts and multiple sources, then there has been a breakdown in civilization. Unfortunately, social media platforms are not kind to truth or fact. They tend to superheat an already overheated environment.

COVID-19 has already done extensive damage. Worldwide, 156,433 people have contracted the disease to date, 5,821 of whom have died. Although most who contract COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms, it can be lethal for susceptible individuals.

However, the sharing of health information the world over to combat the pandemic has brought us all closer, and ultimately will help all of us overcome.

Democrats and Republicans passed a sweeping, bipartisan relief bill designed to alleviate much of the hardship associated with the pandemic—a good sign.

COVID-19 does not differentiate between Democrat and Republican. All are equally affected. America, as a whole, must wage war on coronavirus. This is a life-and-death struggle—and a dramatic wake-up call.

Forget the bickering, the petty feuds, the soap boxes and the microphones. This is real life in real time.

This challenge requires facts and truth, not half-truths, misinformation and delusions. Life and survival depend only on the facts. Fiction is the enemy.

COVID-19 has brought us all down to earth again.

The more we work as a team, the more people will live. It’s that simple.

This pandemic has become the great uniter. If we indeed unite, we can beat COVID-19. If we continue to point fingers, quarrel and play the blame game, we all lose.

Dr. Joseph Frager is first vice president of the National Council of Young Israel.

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