What do you say when confronted with this virus?
Published 4:15 pm Friday, March 13, 2020
What do you say? Heck, in my line of work, what do you write?
In a world admittedly already spinning a bit off-kilter to begin with, the past few days have reached a new level of odd and there is no part of our lives that has not been affected.
For weeks we have been seeing the slow creep of the coronavirus make its way from the Wuhan Province of China, through parts of Asia, Europe and eventually to the United States. We have watched as cruise ships became floating quarantine zones and had to learn once again the value of washing our hands.
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In recent days, we’ve seen large cities face large numbers of cases and we have all seen the map of the United States slowly fill in as state-by-state reported their first cases.
Mississippi joined that club Wednesday when the first confirmed case was reported in the Hattiesburg area. Since then, three more cases have been confirmed. More will follow.
But what do you say?
In the days since, we have seen advisories on avoiding gatherings of more than 250 people and we have seen our state’s public school systems wrestle with the unenviable position of when to have students and teachers return to the classroom.
As parents, we have had to struggle with the decision of whether to shelter in place because of the unknown, or trust those in authority that they have society’s best interest in mind.
But what do you say?
For those of us who lived through the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there was a sense of shock, sadness and then outrage.
Just like in the days following 9/11, we have seen sports leagues cancel games or seasons altogether, but unlike the events of 9/11, this enemy is not someone, it is something. It is not a country or territory we can enact revenge upon, but an advisory that we admittedly were not prepared for.
So what do you say?
While social media on some level deserves blame for fanning the flames of hysteria, what has been the strongest catalyst for fear is the unknown.
It is hard to explain what this is, what will happen or when it will be over. All we can be sure of is that it will get worse before it will get better, but we can rest assured that it will get better.
That is what we say. We start saying today that we will get through this; the pandemic will ease and a vast majority of those who will catch this disease, they will recover.
That is what we say and we say it confidently, not because of what the government is doing or because of what drug companies are doing but because we as a country, as a people have a track record of overcoming great challenges.
My confidence though is not just based on history but on faith. It is not made stronger by information, but by knowing – as I tell my children — “God’s got this.”
The news over the coming weeks will be tough to see, tough to read — and for those of us who are reporting it — tough to write. But, just like every sentence, there is punctuation. In this case, we are emphatic, we got this because God’s got this!
Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.