With a population of over eight million residents, New York City is America’s most densely packed city. It sits in a state of over 20 million people who have suffered more than 282,000 Covid-19 cases and 16,000 deaths during the pandemic. The state has 214 hospitals and a health sector that employs well over a million people. With numbers like these, can a single N95 mask possibly make a difference? It turns out the answer is yes. Dennis Ruhnke, a retired farmer from Kansas had five masks in storage, and he sent one to Governor Cuomo’s office, along with a hand-written letter: “I am a retired farmer hunkered down in N.E. Kansas with my wife who has but one lung and occasional problems with her remaining lung. We are in our 70s now and frankly I am afraid for her … Enclosed find a solitary N-95 mask left over from my farming days. It has never been used … If you could, could you please give this mask to a nurse or a doctor in your city.” Cuomo read the letter and held up the mask during his daily press briefing: “You want to talk about a snapshot of humanity. You have five masks, what do you do? Do you keep all five? Do you hide the five masks, do you keep them for yourself or others? No, you send one mask. You send one mask to New York for a doctor or nurse. How beautiful is that? How selfless is that? How giving is that? It’s that love, that courage, that generosity of spirit that makes this country so beautiful. And it’s that generosity for me makes up for all the ugliness that you see. Take one mask, I’ll keep four.”

+ U2: One. One love / One blood / One life You got to do what you should / One life / With each other / Sisters and my brothers / One life / But we’re not the same / We get to carry each other, carry each other.