I have struggled with this week’s commentary, rewriting the opening several times in the past few days.
Generally, I try to predict pertinent topics for Wednesday, considering local, state and national happenings then write over the weekend tweaking it Monday. This, however, hasn’t been the case, as my delete key has had a lot of (right) fifth digit strikes.
So, I’ll start somewhat selfishly confessing that the prospect of staying put, out of reach of the general public, seems challenging. Just the suggestion of quarantine ignites rebellious thoughts. We are social people and social distancing to “flatten the curve” of the virus is almost too much for our natural inclinations. Add to that our instinct for self-preservation. Considering bunker-mode, our urge to store up supplies, becomes necessary in our minds; like a superfluous stock of toilet paper and such.
Consider that there is nothing new about worldwide epidemics, pandemics, as they are called. We have faced these before and every one of them have come upon us like thieves in the night. I am sure our youth won’t have the same perspective as those who have lived through tough times. Some quick research reveals World Health Organization (WHO) chronicles pandemics and widespread viruses and infectious diseases over the past 24 years. I noted several you may be familiar with: Anthrax bacteria (2001), West Nile (2002), SARS (2003), Avian (2004), H1N1 (2009), MERS (2014), Ebola (2014), ZIKA (2015), COVID-19 (November 2019).
In 2009 and 2010, about 60 million Americans were infected with H1N1, the Swine Flu, resulting in the hospitalization of 300,000. Some of you may have experienced the infection, but honestly, I barely remember it. The pandemonium of today’s COVID-19 makes this one of those lifetime events that I am sure we will never forget. Doctors appear to be learning daily how the virus is spreading. While young people seemingly are less likely to be affected, older Americans and those with compromised immune systems can be a carrier.
If you were alive in the 1950s and 1960s, you will remember the polio virus that ravaged our nation. Parents were fearful that their children would experience its paralyzing effect. As a youngster, I lined up to eat a sugar cube dosed with the polio vaccine, and in later years learned more about it. Vaccinations coordinated through schools throughout the United States prevented the crippling nature of the disease. In recent years, Rotary Clubs’ efforts to vaccinate children worldwide has reduced the number of cases to only a few.
Last Sunday, President Trump called for a National Day of Prayer: “I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.” While church leaders decide about gathering together, we all have the ability to pray for those who will be affected by the virus. As much as anything to push away the fear.
While things may look bleak, the reality is that we have commonly faced situations before. Viruses, terroristic disasters, floods, tornados, hurricanes, wars, you name it, we have faced it. They happen to Republicans, Democrats, Independents and yes, even Democratic Socialists. We are in an imperfect world, inhabited by imperfect people and we face these things together, despite the cost and the pain.
Unfortunately, we need to face these things together at a distance. Social distancing is difficult for some of our generations, but we must. Stay in touch electronically. Do the wave thing, Hunan Shuffle or whatever. Hunker down with books, newspapers, the internet and a movie or two.
Pray that the incidents of COVID-19 flat-line quickly and that we can find the strength during these upcoming days to mitigate the transmission. History will tell the story. For now, let’s do our part to end this soon.
Greg DeLancey is the 1st District chairman for the Republican Party of Kentucky. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.