By Thomas Sellers Jr.
I love sports, and sadly sometimes it takes a real-world event hitting the sports world to wake me up.
On March 11 the NBA was rocked and came to a standstill when All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Overnight, more and more U.S. Americans became familiar with corona, COVID-19 or even Wuhan-virus.
It was in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 the birth of this coronavirus took place. The outbreak of the virus left tens of thousands sick, and more than 16,000 people died.
In the blink of an eye at least 166 countries were infected by COVID-19.
The World Health Organization has declared the situation a pandemic.
Here we are today still with a lot of unknowns, questions we want desperately answered and uncertain futures on basic things like schools, business and the minor world of sports.
The first death attributed to the coronavirus was on Jan. 11. Fast forward to Feb. 29, and the first causality of COVID-19 takes place in the United States near Seattle. It will be a Leap Day never forgotten.
During these trying, historic times, you make an effort to balance things. There is much doom and gloom involved with the coronavirus. In the midst of the darkness, a few silver linings are starting to appear.
I would like to dedicate this week’s Best Sellers’ List to the good and bad attributed to the coronavirus. When we survive this storm, we’ll all look back at this period of history and realize some positives and good values have a chance to stay a part of our fabric.
Let’s get the negative out the way.
There was a rush to grocery stores across the country for cold cuts, bread, hand sanitizers, disinfectant spray and toilet paper. The panic was real by some, and others saw a chance to get a cash grab on supplies.
But as March proceeded, government officials on all levels started to institute Civil States of Emergency. All of sudden there were different levels of quarantine. People in my boat still had to go to work but rushed home after clocking out. Mainly because nothing was open.
The second level of quarantine was people in the high risk category for the disease (the elderly and those with poor respiratory systems).
The last level of quarantine is those infected, recent travelers and those who were diagnosed. Quickly all those things purchased in the grocery store became part of our survival.
No sports rocked our entertainment world. The NCAA Basketball Tournament was canceled, along with the suspension of various athletic leagues.
Meanwhile children across America are in the middle of the longest spring break in history. We can’t venture into a restaurant at the moment and even churches are closed.
When you shut down all kinds of industries, the economy is going to take a hit. The stock market took a historic dive last month. Now the U.S. government is sending out a never-before-seen stimulus package. The White House and Senate leaders struck a major deal early on March 25 with a more than $2 trillion package to provide a jolt to an economy struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Millions of jobs are still going to be lost, but this stimulus package will give several U.S. Americans a chance to breathe a little easier as we solve the coronavirus.
Several hundreds of thousands have been diagnosed with COVID-19. That total is raising every second along with the death toll in the tens of thousands.
The worst-case scenario of all of this is death. Medical officials and scientists are working hard to come up with a vaccine.
Fear of the unknown
Are you a silent carrier? Will the economy bounce back? What are the real symptoms? What’s the cure or measures of prevention? When will sports resume? What truly is coronavirus?
More and more questions seem to pop into our minds on a daily basis. The biggest query might be, “When will we get back to normal?”
For the first time in many years, people are tuning in to the local news for information. The government is welcoming members of the media to work together to keep the public informed and educated through this process.
Even online and on social media, most of the information related to COVID-19 is valid. And the traditional media is knocking down the rumors, falsehoods and panic stories.
The coronavirus has made all of us a little more accountable. And as a journalist, I know we have a duty to document and capture this historic event so when the next potential pandemic comes on the scene, our children and grandchildren won’t make the same mistakes we did.
It’s ironic that a disease that has given birth to social distancing has brought us closer together. Social distancing has made us miss warm embraces and goofy moments involving physical contact.
But now we have to respect each other’s space. I had a personal two-foot rule for many years that a lot of my fellow shoppers seemed to ignore.
Now we’re conscious of other people’s bubbles. I hope once we get coronavirus under control, we can hold onto a few of these new principles to respect each other’s space and well-being.
Speaking of good practices, one we need to hold on to for years to come is good hygiene. Let’s continue to wash our hands properly and often. Let’s get disinfectant sprays and other cleaning agents nearby.
Don’t cough or sneeze into the air, and make sure you even keep your cell phone disinfected.
For many, masks and gloves are new parts of the wardrobe. I pray we get back to a time when we can leave those items on the shelf. But we do need to place a vice grip on these good hygiene habits for generations and generations.
For the first time in my lifetime, we are concerned about Italy, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Mexico and other countries without the Olympics being involved.
Hopefully when 2021 rolls around, all the nations well be in a healthy state participating in the Summer Olympics.
But for now, we are all sick and trying to work together to solve this coronavirus. This disease is putting the “world” in the World Health Organization.
As the United States endures this pandemic, we’re taking the good of other countries hit earlier in the year and learning from the bad those nations did.
The U.S. hasn’t been perfect in the response to coronavirus. But many are on the same track to get this right and save lives.
In the case of other tragedies and epic events, we cling closer to those things, places and people who are important to us.
Things like sports I miss. I took going to the Church of Christ at Ridgegrove for granted. Family, friends and colleagues I embrace more spiritually.
Prayer and self-meditation is crucial during a time like this, because now I realize I have to even make myself a more important priority. You have to save yourself to be in a place to help save others.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.