COVID-19 has dominated the news in the last week. Over 335,000 people have been infected worldwide. 14,611 have died, 5,500 in Italy alone. In the United States, 34,000 have tested positive with 423 deaths. In Oklahoma, 67 people have tested positive and 2 people have died.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus.

The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (6 feet) with people who are unwell.

Government, at all levels, sprang into action. President Trump asked Americans to practice “social distancing.” Bars, restaurants and gyms across the country were closed, events canceled. Grocery store shelves are bare after consumers panic purchased anything and everything, but especially toilet paper.

Skeptics contend COVID-19 is overblown and that it is nothing more than the flu. The CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, say underestimating COVID-19 is a mistake. Facuci specifically said young people need to take it more seriously. Three thoughts:

First, this is not a time for panic and hysteria. The reasoning behind the “social distancing” orders from government are sound. A virus spreads by human interaction and requires a way to spread. If the link is broken in the chain, the virus stops spreading and dies. If Americans will make this sacrifice for the short term, it will slow down and eventually stop the spread of the virus.

Second, people should cooperate to stop the spread of the virus. A little inconvenience now could make a huge difference. In 1527, a deadly plague hit Martin Luther’s hometown. Luther, who believed God was in control of all things, said: “Use medicine, take potions which can help you’ fumigate house, yard, and street; shun person and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence or has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city.”

Third, it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. Whether death comes from COVID-19, a heart attack, old age, an auto accident or in your sleep, death is inevitable for all men. It’s unavoidable. During this time of “social distancing,” may we be introspective and understand life is fragile and death hangs over us like a fog all the time. What are we doing with our life? What is the chief purpose of man? Why was man created? Those are heavy questions in a heavy environment, but COVID-19 has made sports, eating out and socializing trivial — because it is.

What can we do to “help put out the burning?” (1) Recognize the experts know more than you do and comply with requests to practice social distancing. (2) Stop panic buying! It hurts your fellow citizens. Buy what you need, and the supply chain can keep up with demand. (2) Pray! Only God can stop the spread of disease. Luther also said that no matter what he did if God wanted to take him, the plague would find him. Pray, but don’t live in fear because God is sovereign and COVID-19 didn’t take Him by surprise. Stay safe!

Steve Fair is chairman of the 4th District of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He can be reached by email at okgop@aol.com. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.

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