Well, here I sit on the 16th of March with the sun out and temperatures rising into the mid to upper 80’s. You would think that the biggest news of the day should be about where Tom Brady might go to play next year, if not back to New England for his 21st season in the NFL. Teams can start to talk to Brady at noon today, but his free agency truly begins at noon this Wednesday.
I wish that was the news we could all concentrate on today. Unfortunately for us and the vast majority of the world’s population, it isn’t Brady we should be concentrating on, but a little bug that we can’t even see, which is having its impact felt around the globe.
The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, its official designator has taken center stage. No matter where you turn on TV, in printed media or through the various social media outlets, Corona has taken center stage, and rightfully so, as the world community attempts to swat the little bugger and halt its spread of misery death in its tracks.
Like many of the flues and other viruses we deal with, this one is especially deadly and fast–acting. Therefore, it is making it particularly dangerous to those with impaired immune systems, existing respiratory ailments, diabetes, heart disease and the elderly within our population.
I was amazed that almost one–third of the recent Democratic Presidential Debate dealt with bashing the President. Centering most of their commentary around making healthcare free for everyone. I guess both the candidates missed the memo saying all cost incurred regarding the virus is being absorbed the Federal Government under the National Emergency Declaration that was issued on March 13.
Healthcare is a legitimate issue in the country and needs to be addressed, but in an orderly, intelligent and reasoned manner. The original Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) legislation was over 2300 pages long. When debate in Congress came to a vote on March 23rd, 2010, it was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who famously said, “We need to pass this bill so we can understand what is in it. Away from the fog of the controversy.”
Neither side needs to be politicizing this issue, either in the media, on the campaign trail or through social media sites. We are a nation at war with a viral contagion, one we cannot see, feel or hear. This is unlike being at war with another government or radical faction that seeks to do us harm. You can’t put a face to this enemy, and nor can we bomb it into submission to bring it into a peace process and end the hostilities and the harm it does to our citizens.
The casualties of this conflict are some of our most vulnerable in our society and they deserve better by those in charge or those wanting to wrestle control away during an election process where the emotional rhetoric and distortions oftentimes grow out of control and will result in irreparable damage to our nation and its people.
The administration chose to close down our borders this last month and limit travelers who were non-citizens. They were initially scoffed at and called “racist” in response to this precaution. Today, most of Europe and other nations have closed their borders to slow the advance of the virus out of similar concerns to protect their citizens.
Although our major concern continues to lie with the protection of our citizens and their health, the virus is also affecting our economic health and will continue to do so. We are fortunate that we have such a strong and vibrant economy, however, it too will be hurt some.
We should tip our hats to many of the organizations that have chosen to cancel meetings, events and other gatherings which have been planned a year in advance. The popular Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival last week became a victim of the deadly virus as their board decided to err on the side of caution. The Marco Island Fire Foundation’s Annual Pancake Breakfast has also been canceled out of an abundance of caution. These are just two of the events which bring so much joy to our community.
Restaurants, hotels and other entertainment attractions are being seriously affected financially as customers are choosing to limit their public travels and their exposure to large crowds.
The one issue I’ll never be able to understand in all this is the run on paper goods, especially toilet paper. Come on folks, this hoarding of toilet paper has provided great fodder for late–night TV hosts and social media sites and is becoming a ridiculous spectacle.
We unfortunately lack the great orators of the past that helped us through so many challenges that have faced our nation. Examples of that were FDR in his 1933 Inaugural Address speech with his famous quote, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” That quote seems very applicable in these times.
John F. Kennedy when he said, “We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or make it the last.” Finally, Ronald Reagan when he said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.”
We will defeat this latest enemy because we have resources and intelligence to do so. We must first put aside some of the fear and adhere to many of the suggested changes in our daily routines. Limit travel and exposure in large gatherings and of course maintain good basic sanitary hygiene.
On a final note, I would ask you to pay attention to your neighbors, especially the elderly. Pick up the phone and check on them, and if you are going out to shop ask them if there is anything you could get for them so as to limit their exposure. A simple kindness will go a long way, in place of divisive rhetoric or half-truths.