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Editorial: Coping with the COVID-19 coronavirus

March 26, 2020   Editor: David Uphoff
The coronavirus COVID-19 has brought everything to a halt. Everyone is isolating themselves in order to prevent the spread of the virus. While President Trump is trying to sound hopeful by stating he would like to see restrictions removed by Easter, April 12, most health experts say it is too earlier to loosen up social distancing. They say the more we isolate now the sooner we can stop the spread of the virus and the sooner we can get the economy going again. To stop isolating too soon will cause a spike in the virus and overwhelm our hospitals and delay economic recovery even longer. Thankfully, Illinois Governor Pritzker understands the situation and said he is favoring saving lives over starting the economy up sooner.

Some of the things we are learning is that the virus will probably be with us forever just like the seasonal flu, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. This means that a vaccine will be needed to prevent future outbreaks of the virus and a vaccine is probably a year away. This also means we will have to be vigilant in our fight against the virus for the rest of the year.

Congress has passed an aid bill that will pump $2 trillion into the economy which will help those who are out of work. Each adult will get up to $1200 based on income, and $500 for each child under 17. While this will not sustain a family throughout the summer, it underscores the importance of social distancing now so we can get the economy back soon. However, Congress will probably pass more aid bills if the virus persists into the summer.

Another interesting thing reported is that one of the symptoms of the virus Is the loss of a sense of smell and taste. While there have been only 2 cases of the COVID-19 virus reported in Woodford County, there surely are more cases that are not being reported. Because of the lack of testing we have no way of knowing the true prevalence of the virus. It is not unreasonable to assume that someone in the Minonk area has the virus but is not showing symptoms because it takes up to 2 weeks for symptoms to appear. That is why it is so important for us to keep our distance because we don't know who is contagious, including the person who is contagious.

If you think you have symptoms of the virus you can contact UnityPoint Health at (309) 680-2850 and they will do a telephone interview to determine if you need to come in for a test.

I subscribe to the Blue Zones newsletter and they have published a great article on how to avoid getting sick. But it also emphasizes the importance of keeping our social contacts during isolation. The article can be viewed at this link.

While many of us may be getting cabin fever, experts tell us it is also a time to reconnect with our family which will help relieve the stress and perhaps strengthen our relationships. I know from my own experience that helping Judy babysit her 3 year old granddaughter every day has made our own isolation much less stressful, and quite frankly, more enjoyable.

Since I have never been a parent, I am now realizing in the twilight of my life what joy a child can bring into one's life. The nurturing of a child not only has brought me happiness, it also gives me a sense of purpose and a reason to live longer so I can watch my grandchildren grow up.

Now is the time to enjoy your family and get caught up on things at home. This is a once in a lifetime experience for all of us and if we all cooperate and keep our social distance, we will bring the virus under control sooner rather than later. We can then look back later and say that we as a nation, just as in World War II, pulled together to defeat the enemy.

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