It’s unfortunate but this isn’t going to end soon.

We’re going to continue to see COVID-19 infections spread, but individually and as a community we can work to do something about it. School systems and hospitals (as well at the state’s Department of Public Health) are doing the best they can with, honestly, limited resources.

As many of us are parents, we need to prepare as well as we can for extended absences in schools. In our school systems and around the state we’ve seen announcements of 14-day closures (the suggested self-quarantine time for coronavirus). We need to realize the closures and precautions aren’t because of widespread exposures, it is to slow them down.

There’s a term public health officials are using called “flattening the curve” which essentially means slowing down the spread of the virus. To put it in life or death terms — the slower the spread the more lives we can save.

We need to realize this is here and take respectful precautions to not stigmatize those who are confirmed to have the illness. As part of those types of precautions, events that many of us enjoy locally were canceled this weekend, in part to attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

One of those was the Georgia Open ITF Wheelchair Championships last week at the Rome Tennis Center. It’s amazing to see those athletes from around the world put their amazing talents on display.

All of these closings and cancellations don’t mean we have to stop living our lives — but gathering in large crowds might not be ideal right now.

It’s likely many of us will get this virus or be affected in one way or another, much like the flu, but we should be diligent to protect those who are severely affected by this.

There are several vulnerable populations: the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, as well as those with respiratory issues and heart disease.

As a whole, children aren’t one of those vulnerable populations, but if a child goes to school and brings it home to their grandparent it could be dangerous to that grandparent ... to avoid that, we keep distance and hopefully flatten the curve.

Let’s bring fist bumps, elbow bumps, hand washing and keeping a respectful distance from each other into style in the next few months.

We’re seeing more expansions

Many of the St. Patrick’s Day events aren’t happening, but Rome had a dash of the luck of the Irish this week.

Kerry unveiled plans this week for a $125 million investment to more than double the capacity of its plant in Lindale.

This is the largest capital investment the Ireland-based company has made in its North American division and we’ll see somewhere around 100 new jobs at the plant.

With construction ready to begin immediately, they’re expecting it to be complete in 2021.

This comes after a few other large expansions at existing industries in Floyd County — most notably Ball Container and International Paper.

Daylight is nice, but sleep is pretty great ... and other thoughts about legislation

Last Sunday your body was likely feeling abused because the powers that be arbitrarily stole an hour from your night’s sleep. Here is the answer: Stop daylight savings time.

Recently the state Senate unanimously passed legislation calling for a nonbinding advisory referendum on whether or not we, as Georgians, should continue this madness known as daylight savings time.

Since 2015, at least 39 states have considered putting an end to the twice-a-year switch, Georgia Press Association’s Capitol Beat News Service reported this week.

The story cited several ill-effects of switching time — from adverse health effects to judges imposing harsher sentences during the “spring forward” switch.

By the way, it looks like the federal government prefers standard time. If states wish to stay on daylight savings time year-round, they need congressional approval.

But states wishing to go with year-round standard time can make the change on their own. Arizona and Hawaii already observe standard time all year.

This problem is self-imposed and we can fix it.

Another quick aside for the state legislature: Passing paid parental leave for state employees is the right thing to do.

There are nearly 250,000 state employees — which includes teachers — and this bill would allow them to take up to three weeks of paid parental leave.

It would apply to each parent following the birth of their child or after an adoption or a foster care placement. This kind of measure allows those employees to bond with and care for their children — a move that will benefit us all going into the future.

This measure passed through the state House before Crossover Day and hopefully the state Senate will follow suit.

This week we’ve opened our paywall so the entire community can view our coronavirus coverage, but we’d like to thank our local subscribers for supporting local journalism. It’s because of you that we can provide this coverage.

Thank you for reading.

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