Things are moving so fast with the coronavirus that it is hard to keep up. One day schools are in session, the next day they’re canceled. Same for sporting events, conferences and the like.
Having said that, there are three known facts in connection with the coronavirus:
1. Life around here is going to very different for a while. Change is here, like it or not.
2. There is much we don’t know about the virus and its fallout. We all face a learning curve to arm ourselves with the knowledge needed to stem its spread.
3. We’re all in this together.
Let’s look at these one by one:
Changes underwayOur daily routines have been turned upside down by the quick spread of this virus. Schools are closed for at least two weeks, putting thousands of families in limbo.
Sporting events were canceled, locally, statewide and nationally. Who would’ve ever thought the NBA would be canceled, the NCAA basketball championships scuttled or high school sports postponed? But it happened.
Many other events in our community were canceled and longtime gathering places, like the Roseburg Senior Center and the Roseburg Library, closed in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
Expect more challenging changes to come. Banks, stores and restaurants may alter the way they do business, at least temporarily, incorporating less face-to-face interactions and more drive-thru options.
The economy could take a hit as people are unable to work, retail business slows and families are more cautious with their spending. The stock market plunged 10% this week and is down 27% since its record high set just last month.
It’s a good bet the stock market will rebound over time. Similarly, patience and an understanding that these changes are necessary will be critical to help things run as smoothly as possible in these trying times.
Learning CurveMost of us had never heard of coronavirus, or COVID-19, a couple of months ago. Now it’s all we hear about. At first, it was someone else’s problem — China, South Korea, Europe. Now it is a pandemic.
We have learned that people who seem to be most vulnerable to the coronavirus are the elderly, those with respiratory problems and those with compromised immune systems.
We also know that the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
And we now know that it is important to get flu shots, try not to sneeze or cough near people or into our hands, wash our hands carefully and often and avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
But there is much we don’t know, including how widespread this virus is or may become. As of Friday, there were about 1,700 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 41 reported deaths. Worldwide there are about 135,000 confirmed cases — more than 80,000 of those in China — and about 5,000 reported deaths.
Those numbers will grow as the virus spreads and more people are tested. Just how much is anyone’s guess, but experts say millions of people in this country could be infected and tens of thousands could die. Scary predictions to be sure.
We also don’t know how coronavirus will affect our everyday lives. Will people still go to the gym? The movies? Church?
We need to figure out these and other questions to help guide our efforts to contain this virus.
Time to uniteThe one thing we can say with certainty is we’re all in this together.
While certain sectors of the public are more vulnerable to coronavirus, it is indiscriminate. Professional basketball players, famous actors and even the family of a Prime Minister have tested positive. No one is immune.
This is one of those times where we need to pull together, to look out after our family, neighbors, church members and work associates.
With schools closed, we should help accommodate these families. With the Roseburg Senior Center closed, it wouldn’t hurt to check in on seniors in the community. Look for opportunities to help, even if it’s a simple smile and hello to someone at the market.
We have much to learn about this virus; our goal is to learn together. We will not sensationalize the news or overreact to events of the day. We will vet information and present the pertinent facts as we gather them.
This outbreak is a significant event in our community and we are committed to being a fundamental source of information about it, an intellectual gathering place. On our website, in print and over our affiliated radio stations we will keep abreast of the latest news, events, cancellations and anything else of import associated with this virus.
We want the information exchange to be two ways. Members of the community often learn of facts before we do, and we want to hear from you. We encourage you to send tips, comments, questions, general observations and whatever else you think is important to us. Information on how to do that is listed below.
These are trying times, with daily events causing concern and uncertainty. This virus is new, not well understood, and therefore scary. We need to stay calm, be deliberate in our actions and remain hopeful.
We as a community and a nation are now keenly aware of this deadly virus and are taking appropriate actions to deal with it.
The tide will turn. We will get through this together.