Social Distancing


Victoria Stewart-Meyers, City Editor

   Sixty-three countries from Angola to Zimbabwe are reporting zero coronavirus. Many of these countries are third-world countries. Some are island paradise. 

     More than 5,746 people, mostly in China, have died after being infected with the virus. More than 82,000 people have recovered from the virus. Here in Arkansas there have been 30 confirmed cases.

      Yet, government officials are on the news running live press conferences several times a day talking about hospitals being overrun with patients. Store shelves are empty, one hears on the news about people standing in long lines at stores but the stores here are not crowded. 

   In Arkadelphia the libraries are closed, restaurants that are open are drive-thru or take-out only. At the Burger King when you offer your cash to the gloved cashier he pushes a plastic container at you to drop it in. But then he picks it up from the container with his gloved hands. He then puts your change into the container and holds it out to you while you fish it out of the bowl. He does not change gloves between customers. 

     Stephen Bell from the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce lamented that he was sorry to see the college campuses closing down saying how much the town enjoys the student population. He said they “will be missed.”

     Schools are closed, bars are closed, Little Rock issued a midnight to five am  curfew, and Garland county has issued a burn ban even though it’s been raining for weeks.

      Some states are banning the sale of firearms. Campgrounds and National parks are closing. 

   Because all the spring festivals have closed, musicians are scrambling to make a living. Their tours canceled, they are now hosting Facebook and Instagram Live concerts, you can find one nearly any hour of the day. 

     Nashville experienced a devastating tornado right before everything began to shut down. If things don’t open up soon, one wonders if they can recover. 

     The news gives little mention of the homeless, but taxpayers should be receiving checks for $1000 soon. President Trump said the people “ want cash now.” Isn’t that the tag line from a loan commercial? 

     Many are saying this response to a mild virus that has always been listed under “common cold” on the cdc website is out of proportion to the facts. Yet another live press conference is urging the public to “remain calm during this crisis.” 

     The public is urged to wash their hands frequently, maintain “social distancing” by staying home and telecommuting when possible. 

     The streets are not yet empty but definitely quieter. Who knows what new announcement will be in tomorrow’s news?