“The Weather Channel and COVID-19,” by Andrew Malekoff, Blank Slate Media

Andrew Malekoff

“The Weather Channel and COVID-19,” by Andrew Malekoff, Blank Slate Media

One of my favorite phone apps is the Weather Channel. I check it every day, sometimes several times a day, to track the temperature, wind and precipitation in my zip code.

If I want to, I can search any zip code anywhere. It helps me to prepare for when I plan to walk or go bike riding. It is also helpful to see how the weather conditions might affect my commute to and from my office at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center or when I plan to travel anywhere in New York or beyond.

On the bottom of the opening page of the app there are icons that lead you to a quick view of hourly and daily weather conditions, as well as radar. I usually stick with hourly and daily views. I have looked at the radar page, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

The hourly and daily icons are presented in a gray outline and the radar icon in blue. I’m writing this on a cloudy and foggy morning, with light rain all day. I just checked the hourly icon to see if the rain is going to stop so I can take a walk. Sometimes I like to walk in the rain. But not today.

Tomorrow’s forecast is nice. I think I’ll wait until tomorrow morning to walk: no rain, temperature 50 degrees and wind ESE only 4 MPH. Perfect!

As I clicked back to the homepage, my eyes caught an icon I hadn’t noticed before. The new icon is all red and it reads “COVID-19” with a solid red image that represents the virus. I clicked it and came to a page associated with my zip code.

When I opened to the COVID-19 page it displayed confirmed cases and deaths associated with the coronavirus in Nassau County and the percentage increase of deaths since last week. Like the weather, it indicates the date and time of day for the report.

And then just below the Nassau County information, it provides the confirmed cases and deaths in all of New York State.

It took my breath away to see this little red icon on the Weather Channel. After all, checking the weather has always provided me with a momentary respite, a chance to look forward to a nice day or to prepare for a crummy one.

But the little red icon put a lump in my throat.

We are encouraged on social media every day with uplifting memes and inspirational quotations to count our blessings. We are advised to use telecommunications to interact with family, friends and colleagues.

Depending on the circumstance, technology enables us to reach out to students, clients, doctors, patients and customers.

At the same time, anxiety and fear is a constant companion. For some, more so than others. Particularly if you have loved ones with pre-existing health-compromising conditions or if you don’t know how you are going to pay the bills if this lasts much longer.

We can distract ourselves only so long. And, then we check the weather.

Andrew Malekoff is the executive director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, the leading children’s mental health agency on Long Island. The Guidance Center is seeing new and existing clients via telephone and video during the COVID-19 crisis. To make an appointment, call (516) 626-1971. Visit www.northshorechildguidance.org for more information.