Scoot: America hits the pause button because of coronavirus!

March 12, 2020 - 12:58 pm

Within a short period of time from yesterday afternoon into last night – an avalanche of warnings, closures and suspended activities suddenly gave the signal that America had hit the pause button.

When presidents address the nation from the Oval Office during primetime, there is always a sense of urgency. With more than 1,000 Americans infected with the coronavirus and more than 30 dead so far – President Trump addressed the nation with a somber tone, warning that the government was taking the threat of the coronavirus very seriously – and he tried to reassure Americans that the government would do everything possible to contain the disease and eliminate its threat to the population.

It was predictable that the President’s address to the nation was judged along partisan lines with one side proclaiming it as the President acting responsibly and the other side bashing some of the content and the delivery.

There were legitimate questions about President Trump’s take on travel restrictions, and questions remain about the number of test kits available and the number of people tested,  The President is not the most charismatic speaker when reading from a teleprompter – but I give President Trump credit for the serious ambience of his address.

Over a relatively short period of time – President Trump warned that nation about the coronavirus – the NBA abruptly suspended the season indefinitely – the much-anticipated St. Patrick’s Day Metairie parade was postponed – and the NCAA announced that March Madness games would take place without fans in the stands. We also learned that Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, both tested positive for the coronavirus and today remain in stable condition at an Australian hospital.

Late yesterday – New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell announced the postponement of the Mayor’s Masked Ball scheduled for this Saturday night. In an open letter to the Mayor – I addressed the hypocrisy of her decision to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day parades while not canceling or postponing the fundraiser that bears her political title. The criticism of Mayor Cantrell was overwhelming, and the Mayor decided to postpone the fundraiser – which was the right decision.

In a special video of a roundtable discussion with local touring musicians about the impact of the coronavirus on their lives and the music industry – I also talked to infectious disease specialist Dr. Markalain Dery – who is associated with University Medical Center – New Orleans and the Tulane Health System – and the details Dr. Dery shared were surprising to all of us at the table.

Dr. Dery insisted that the spread of the coronavirus was extremely serious and a threat to everyone right now – but did say this was for a short period of time. The doctor made one sobering comment that changed my attitude about the disease. I asked Dr. Dery if he would feel safe walking down a crowded Bourbon Street – he said “no” and that he would not walk down Bourbon or put himself in any crowd. That changed my somewhat cavalier attitude that I was not concerned about being in crowds.

Before the show today, Kevin Cassidy, Market Manager for Entercom – New Orleans – wanted to talk to me about my social lifestyle. Knowing that I am constantly out in crowded public places, Kevin asked me if I would reconsider some of the things that I do; and to protect myself – and the radio station – asked if I would stay away from crowds. It was smart of him to approach me with that request, and I let him know that I had an epiphany about that last night.

What we have learned about the coronavirus is that it is airborne and highly contagious, and cutting back on all situations that draw a crowd is the best way of stopping the spread of the coronavirus. There is reasonable hope that with this collective action across the country – the disease will soon be contained and we can make it through this season with the expectation that a vaccine and more medical advice will be available when the next season arrives.

What we know about the coronavirus is that we don’t know much about it at this point. Let’s hope that health officials with the government and President Trump act in a way that protects the American people rather than use the issue to play politics.

I realize that our lives have been disrupted by this health concern – but we know that we should stay away from crowds. As inconvenient as this may be – let’s remember that we are all in this together and we will have to make some sacrifices and do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The more willing we are to sacrifice and adjust our lives – the quicker it will be contained. We can be assured that at some point we will release the pause button and hit reset button of our lives in America.

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