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Will coronavirus be our undoing?

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I heard some talk last week about an illness called the coronavirus.

You might have also heard about it.

Coronavirus apparently originated in China and has since spread like wildfire to nations all around the world. Fear of the virus seems to have thrown people everywhere into complete turmoil. The best I can gather, and I assume it depends on the one doing the talking, mankind is doomed to total ruination regardless of what steps we take to ward off coronavirus.

This is not the first pandemic illness, as many newscasters call it, to come our way in recent years. Maybe it was just time for another one.

You may recall others like Zika virus in 2015-16, MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome, in 2012, Ebola in 2018-20, Avian (bird) flu in 2013-17, Monkey Pox (still ongoing) and a host of others. Of this group of pandemics, Ebola likely carries the most fear-evoking name.

Incidentally, the recommended prevention of Ebola, according to Wikipedia, is “not handling dead animals in areas where the plague exists.”

Sounds like pretty good advice to me.

Zika virus and Monkey pox are the catchiest names of the group, and I recall that mention of Avian flu prompted people to look skyward at flying birds while making jokes.

As serious as coronavirus sounds, at least it serves to temporarily get everyone’s mind off of the more-pressing issues facing us today — like political races, baseball sign-stealing and “catastrophic” weather.

Many so-called experts have offered their advice on how we should deal with coronavirus. One said we should avoid places where people tend to gather in either small or large groups.

I must assume that means schools, workplaces, churches, clinics, hospitals, athletic contests, movies, concerts, grocery stores, shopping malls, and restaurants and practically everywhere else. I can’t think of many places where there aren’t people.

Another expert said everyone should wear facemasks. And just as you might figure, that advice appears to have led to a worldwide facemask shortage.

No worries, though. Just hang on and you’ll soon see entrepreneurs capitalizing by offering either designer facemasks or those with team logos or other forms of advertising on them.

Another suggestion for prevention is to never touch one’s own face, so I assume that means no bathing, shaving, brushing teeth, applying make-up or scratching the face if it itches.

This might not be the hindrance it seems, however, since with no place to go because of the virus — with no one to be around, no one to impress — grooming and appearance will become less important to us.

We could revert back to the caveman philosophy of not caring what we look like, what we smell like or even how much money we have.

Another recommendation for preventing spread of the virus is to avoid shaking hands with anyone, despite this being an election year. Mark my words, someone will be filing suit against someone else for shaking hands with them against their will.

Regarding the economic aspects of the situation, although the world is apparently already in the dumper because of the virus, the news might not be all gloomy.

According to Wikipedia, the bubonic plague, which killed some 50 million people in the 14th century, also had something of a good side.

“Because the plague killed so many of the working population, wages rose due to the demand for labor, and some historians see this as a turning point in European economic development,” Wikipedia states.

See, every cloud has a silver lining.

Assuming you and I both survive this, if you ever refuse to shake my outstretched hand, I can promise I will not hold it against you, and your refusal might even save me from a lawsuit.

While coronavirus may end up being my downfall, in the meantime I still plan to continue doing things I currently enjoy doing and that includes eating. I don’t think all food originates in China.

Here’s hoping you have a really nice day, and as Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” used to say, “lots of luck to you and yours.”

Keith Barnes is a reporter for the Johnstonian News. Reach him at kbarnes@johnstoniannews.com.

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