My morning commute is so easy, I could drive it blindfolded. I travel 5.5 miles between home and work. Six streets, three left turns and one right. Today I had the road almost totally to myself.

Downtown is similarly empty. Car traffic is heavier, but far fewer people than usual are walking the streets. It could be worse. Times Square was deserted this morning as Manhattan workers and businesses surrendered the busiest intersection on earth to COVID-19.

Most Scranton businesses and government offices are closed to the public. Restaurants still offer take-out and delivery, but if you don’t have to go to work, there’s not much reason to come downtown.

The Dunkin’ Donuts on South Washington is on my morning route. Dunkin’ Donuts coffee tastes like dishwater to me, but a medium hot macchiato with an extra shot is a much-appreciated eye-opener. The best thing the place offers isn’t on the menu. The good souls who work there are always upbeat as they hustle to keep Dunkin’ runnin’. Their warm smiles and relentless positivity are infectious. When they tell me to have a nice day, I take it as a duty.

A lot of people are at work today in jobs that put them at risk for infection, from folks at the drive-thru window to police on the street and firefighters and paramedics on call to nurses, doctors and other hospital workers on the front lines waiting to see just how hard the pandemic will hit here, Experts say the worst is yet to come. We will rise to the challenge the best we can.

That includes us here at 149 Penn Ave. We will continue to provide the hard news coverage of the crisis you expect from a community newspaper, but we want you to know that not all the news is bad. We are committed to bringing you at least one story of hope in each edition, a warm smile tucked between the cold morning headlines.

Today, it’s the story of a food drive at Valley View Elementary Center. The Upvalley community teamed with school district food services workers and the nonprofit Jenny’s Kloset to provide food for those in need.

“Our village was out in full force today,” the nonprofit posted Tuesday on Facebook. Read the full story by Staff Writer Joseph Kohut here.

How did you spend this strange day? Maybe in the office, or at home with the kids. Maybe you’re a service worker, first responder or medical professional. Maybe there’s an unsung hero or someone who’s really struggling in your neighborhood we should know about. Email me at kellysworld@timesshamrock.com or ckelly@timesshamrock.com and I’ll share your stories here.

We are still here and so are you. We will get through whatever comes next together, one day at a time. Hang in there, hunker down and wash your hands. How we navigate the road ahead is up to us.

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