COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic hurts us all

Sign of the times? (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The pandemic that has killed thousands in America and around the world is putting millions out of work and unable to feed their families or pay their bills.

Like so many with lives disrupted by the COVID-19 coronavirus, Amy and I are staying home more and more.

Amy is prepping for surgery scheduled next week to try to correct a serious spinal condition that keeps her in pain and unable to walk and I’m not working a lot because Circuit Court and high schools athletics are in a holding pattern until further notice.

My contract with the company that owns the Floyd Press assigns me primarily to cover court proceedings and shoot photos of high school. The Virginia Supreme Court has closed the courts for at least 21 days and the Virginia High School League cancelled all athletic events until further notice.

My two small businesses — Blue Ridge Photography and Blue Ridge Creative — are, for the most part, shut down. Nothing to do for clients when they are pretty much closed too.

I’m not alone. Workers get little notice when layoffs hit in such times.

I see Floyd County business owners could qualify for disaster aid loans. Maybe I will go online and apply for help to make up for the loss in revenue. Or maybe sell some camera and video equipment, or a motorcycle, might help. I’ll have to consider something but right now, my focus is on Amy and her surgery, rehab and recovery.

With a first case of the virus in Southwestern Virginia confirmed and infecting a Botetourt woman now hospitalized in Roanoke in critical condition, the virus is active among us. Several area businesses have closed. Some have laid off employees. Lines are forming at food banks like Plenty.

Health officials and government leaders say things are bad and will get worse.

In Washington, Congress and White House officials try to work out a deal to send money directly to Americans unless partisanship and a volatile president gets in the way.

Widespread testing is needed but where are the kits that are necessary to test a lot of Americans? A lot of blame is being passed around for the delay in getting them but no one has a workable plan to do so.

Some banks, like Bank of America, JPMorgan-Chase and Wells Fargo have agreed on plans to let those with mortgage payments they can’t make right now let the late payments to the end of the loan term without penalty but it will take some time to get the programs in place and working.

California, New York, Florida and other states are ordering their residents to say home and not try to go to work or even shop for groceries. “Have groceries delivered,” says an official in California, where more than 40 million are ordered to stay home. That could work in some areas but not in rural ones like Floyd. We can order groceries online and pick them up curbside at Food Lion and other grocery operations but delivery is not in place in a lot of areas.

Those who do venture into supermarkets often find the shelves stripped of like toilet paper, bread and other necessities. Most area eateries in and around Floyd are offering curbside pickup but have closed indoor dining because of orders from Gov. Ralph Northam.

Will things get worse? Probably, say the experts. How long before we see improvement? Hard to say. China, where the virus originated in a food market in Wuhan, says new cases have dwindled in recent days. But Virginia’s confirmed cases now exceed 117 while other places have thousands infected and many more deaths.

As this is written, the World Health Organization reports 277,037 cases worldwide with 11,422 deaths.  The United States has 19,744 infected with 391 new cases arriving in the last 24 hours with 275 deaths. Italy has 47,021 cases and 4,032 dead so far. That is the highest death toll globally so far.


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