COVID-19 has consumed the news across America and around the world for the past month.

It has been around longer than that, but has dominated, devoured the 24-hour news cycle for at least the last month. The bad news is that I don’t see that changing any time real soon.

The virus has essentially brought the country to a standstill like nothing I can compare it to. Not even the Blizzard of ‘93 shut down Rome and Floyd County like COVID-19. At least people got out and played a little in the two feet of snow that pounded Rome.

I get the concern over COVID-19. I don’t get the hysteria and I really don’t get the blame game. And I have ZERO tolerance for those who want to politicize the pandemic.

It happened. Let’s cope with as best as we can. It’s a lot like the Blizzard of ‘93 that pretty much shut down Rome for almost a week. Some parts of the community were without power much longer than that.

The variable here is that NONE of us know how long this virus is going to impact our lives, but rest assured of one thing. It will eventually pass and be in the rear view mirror.

Twenty-three inches of snow eventually melted and we knew we could count on that. We can also count on things getting better from this virus. We don’t need a lot of finger-pointing and gnashing of teeth over things beyond our control.

The maddening thing about COVID-19 to me is the apparent ease of transmission, the seemingly slow incubation period, during which time someone who has been exposed to the virus does not show any symptoms, yet is in a position to positive for the virus and capable of spreading it.

I was kind of taken aback by all the long-term school shut downs however Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading epidemiologist made a very point in an interview Friday. He explained that children, who seem to be coping with the virus much better than older adults like myself, could very easily be exposed to the virus, then take it home to an older parent, or grandparent who isn’t as likely to be able to cope with the infection. Makes perfect sense.

No, there haven’t been enough testing kits out there but every person in Floyd County who sneezes does not need to be tested. Yes, it would be ideal if we could test every person, but this is something no one has ever had to deal with before and the healthcare industry is working as fast as it can to get enough test kits into the right places.

I got a text message last Thursday from a person I greatly respect asking for more aggressive coverage of the situation. He asked me, “Did you know that neither hospital has a home testing procedure to prevent exposed or sick people coming into the ER and risk exposing others? Did you know it’s taking four to seven days to get results?”

Actually the answer to both questions was yes. Heck, the hospitals don’t have enough testing kits themselves, how does one realistically expect home testing kits to be available now. As for getting the results, this is not like getting you blood sugar numbers with a finger stick. I’m just glad the results are being tested by health care labs and not the GBI Crime lab. That’s not a jab at the crime lab, but it is a reflection of how backed up the labs are, and it’s going to get even worse with COVID-19.

The same person claimed that test results are available in 20 minutes in South Korea or Germany. I don’t know about that, but if it’s true and not something that is just swirling around on social media, then my suggestion is that someone at a much higher pay grade than myself find out what the South Koreans and Germans are doing and tap into those resources.

Point is, pointing fingers and claiming that we’re not doing enough isn’t going to solve anything. Neither is hysteria or mass panic. Calmer heads will prevail in the end.

This is serious. This is life or death for some. I hurt for families who have lost loved ones already but it doesn’t do anyone ANY good for people to panic and look for someone to blame. Bad things happen when people panic!

Associate Editor and business columnist Doug Walker is always looking for news and tips about area businesses. To contact Doug, email him at DWalker@RN-T.com or call 706-290-5272.

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