I’m taking the coronavirus COVID-19 threat very seriously, and I am staying at home as much as I can.
Fortunately, I am able to do most of my work from home. As for now, my family and I are doing OK.
I assume I am in the high risk group. I turn 63 soon and have a mild lung issue common to those of us who grew up in the South.
Actually, I have been practicing social distancing since well before I heard of the virus which began in Wuhan, China some time last year.
I got pneumonia during the winter a few years ago and it took several months to recover, and it seems like I have had influenza or a cold during the winter sports season for the past four or five years.
Since the White Mountains has had quite a number of teams excelling in basketball and wrestling over those same years, I was determined to be healthy during February’s playoffs this time around.
I kept my attendance to our packed gyms, as well as my travel, to a minimum in December and January. By the time the playoffs rolled around in February, I felt pretty good.
But a few days after my 23-hour, 600-mile, three-city tour to attend four basketball playoff games on Feb. 22, I felt like crap and went to the doctor on Feb. 27. But it was a minor cold and I got my strength back after two or three days.
The area had two teams, the St. Johns girls and Alchesay boys, in the semifinals on the final weekend of the basketball season, but I did not attend.
Since both teams lost in the semis, I did not have to travel to Phoenix on leap year.
Thankfully, we got through the basketball season before the virus began to really hit the United States.
Now I keep a close eye on the number of cases and mortality rates throughout the world. The numbers are sobering in general.
Some countries are either not reporting at all or not reporting the whole truth. Countries caught off guard, like Italy, have been hit hard. Countries that imposed travel restrictions early on, like the U.S., have it better than most, but we are still behind the curve and will inevitably see many more cases as more people get tested.
No need to panic about the numbers — you have to understand some underlying causes when looking at them.
Some places like King County, Washington, have seed one death for every 13 cases, but remember, they had an early outbreak in a nursing home. Here in Arizona, we have had four deaths among about 320 cases, as of midweek (about one death for every 80 cases).
It looks like there are a lot of cases down South. My brother Charlie, who is 70 and teaches high school math in Greenwood, Miss., says a member of his church has coronavirus. The schools there are planning on continuing online study just like here.
Leflore County, with a population of about 35,000, including Greenwood, has 13 cases. Neighboring Holmes County has six active cases and one death.
Europe is in the midst of the outbreak.
In Italy, more than one in 10 people who have contracted the virus have died. In France, it is about one in 11 and in Spain, it is nearly one in 14.
In the Far East, the rate of infections seem to be decreasing and many countries are reporting good numbers of patients who have recovered.
Keep in mind, in those countries with case numbers in the thousands, the data is much more useful.
Now that the U.S. is able to test more people thought to have the virus, expect the number of infections to increase dramatically. And as the numbers increase, the rate of death (not the total number) should decrease. Some reassurance.
The case in point is New York City, which has the largest number of confirmed cases in the country, 15,597, and 192 deaths as of midweek, or less than one in 75.
Giving up sports and crowded entertainment events is a small price to pay to get through this pandemic. I really don’t expect the high school sports season to resume, but I could be wrong.
The current economic slowdown is a more serious matter to address.
But get through it we will. Medical supplies, treatments and eventually a vaccine are on the way.
And maybe most of all, we will learn some important life lessons.
Most important may be self reliance, which will help us all when the next big threat emerges.
So get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and keep your nutrients up.
Remain cautious and healthy, and God bless you all.