The Coronavirus hit the United States and turned everything up-side-down. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on Wednesday that its annual April General Conference will take place with speakers, their spouses, choir members, and needed technicians in attendance. Everyone else would watch the conference virtually. On Thursday, the Church of Jesus Christ announced that all public meetings worldwide were temporally cancelled. All senior and health-impaired missionaries from Europe are being sent home. A dozen or so temples were closed.
Changes are being made all over the nation to combat the coronavirus. The hope is to slow its attack down to a speed that the hospitals and doctors can handle it. Even at that, the projected number of cases in the United States is between 70 million and 150 million – approximately one-third to nearly one-half of Americans. Because about 80 percent of the coronavirus cases are mild, the overall mortality rate is about 1%. The projection of fatalities is 700,000 to 1.5 million deaths.
With a projection like that, there is little wonder why all kinds of places are closing to isolate the virus as much as possible. Besides closures by the Church of Jesus Christ, universities are sending students home to finish the semester online. The Metropolitan Opera shut its doors. Disneyland in California shut down temporarily. The National Basketball Association suspended its schedule, the NCAA cancelled all the college games, and other sports leagues are following.
Victor Davis Hanson compared our fight against the coronavirus to a war against an unseen enemy. His comparison seems to be correct to me.
COVID-19 may not have jets, tanks, or nukes, like our past enemies. But its arsenal, numbers, cunning, and willpower are said to be formidable.
To win its war against Americans, COVID-19 must infect and sicken lots of Americans each day. If it cannot infect enough victims to multiply and sustain a hungry army of viruses, COVID-19 will soon sputter and die. It will get trapped in just a few hosts among an otherwise victorious and healthy nation of about 330 million.
Hanson said that COVID-19 has some weapons that the H1N1 swine flu and the MERS and SARS viruses did not have. It is “less lethal” but a little tougher to kill. It rarely commits suicide when an infected host dies, and it lives for hours or days in the air and on surfaces. It has allies among us – “poor personal and public hygiene” and the difficult-to-break habit of touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. It does not smell, make a noise, or can be touched. We recognize it by its damage: fever, fatigue, congestion, labored breathing, and death.
Without effective vaccination or medication, the only way to defeat this enemy is to isolate it. This is the reason why churches, schools, tourist attractions, and other events are closing. Without large crowds of people to infect, the virus cannot spread.
Meanwhile, fear of the coronavirus is causing great damage. The stock market is tumbling, airlines and cruises industries are decimated without travelers, and other businesses are struggling. Fear-crazed Americans are buying toilet paper, hand sanitizers, bottled water, food, and other supplies until the stores are depleted with nothing for the rest of the community. There are even reports of people stealing medical masks from hospitals and medical offices.
Worse yet, politicians continue to push their agendas instead of uniting for the good of the country. When Americans unite, we cannot be defeated. However, disunity destroys whatever organization it infects. Americans must stay calm, rational, and work together if we are to defeat this enemy that has invaded our nation.