A lot has been written about those affected most by the pandemic: the elderly and nursing home residents, in particular. Much also has been said about how the rest of us have an obligation to wear face masks, wash our hands and socially distance, not just for us, but for them.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that there is a kind of poetry in this set-up, an undeniable link between we who are handling a modern-day foe, the virus, and those who helped save our society from another evil, Hitler. Ultimately, historians may talk about this period as a test of how Great the rest of us are in trying to protect the Greatest Generation.

So far, we are not living up to this generation’s high benchmark.

A recent McKnight’s guest column drills this point home.

Writer Scott McConnaha, who is president and CEO of Manitowoc, WI-based Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries, nails the sheer hypocrisy of residents getting sick from the virus in one of his facilities while hearing the sounds of summer car races, with spectators not wearing masks, just outside its windows.

We can still turn the tide. Getting a handle on the testing and personal protective equipment needs in facilities is a front in this war. Also, how we distribute the vaccine — making sure that seniors go to the front of the line — will be another key juncture.

Winning World War II did not happen overnight. But we learned from our mistakes, banded together and, ultimately, emerged victorious. In other words, we could learn a thing or two from some of the very people who are suffering disproportionately from the virus.

And, of course, that old adage about how we judge a society by how we treat our elders is helpful to keep in mind, as well.   

Liza Berger is Senior Editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Follow her @LizaBerger19.