Let's do this Kossuth

Whether you believe the COVID-19 coronavirus is really a big deal or not is now a moot point. Simply put, it is.

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control suggested people should be in gatherings of no more than 250 people.  By Sunday, the suggested number was 50. Monday afternoon, President Trump suggested people stay away from groups of more than 10.

The effort is to minimize people’s potential exposure to those who may be carriers of the virus. It’s simple math – the fewer people with whom you come in contact, the fewer chances you have of contracting the virus, and the fewer chances you have of sharing it.

Aside from those who lived in World War II and faced forced rationing of just about everything, this is the greatest nationwide disruption of life we current Americans have experienced.

Our government officials have closed our buildings and told us to call for an appointment. They don’t want people contacting one another there for other-than-necessary reasons.

Most schools in Iowa are closed for a month, and some wonder if won’t be longer.

Some churches have suspended services and other programs.

Care facilities, clinics and hospitals are limiting access, so some family members cannot visit their loved ones.

Stores are being run upon for rice, cereal, bread, pasta, eggs, meat and for some inexplicable reason, toilet paper, for which there is an ample supply if people don’t just hoard it. With Sunday night’s announcement that schools will be out of session, Monday’s grocery store runs were on frozen pizzas, lunch meat, cheese and other microwaveable items – the kids stuck at home have to eat something.

While government can easily make the decision to close its doors – the property and taxes you must pay will continue those operations – businesses are in a different state altogether. Some small businesses have some sort of contingency fund set aside to make payroll and pay for supplies in an emergency situation, and some do not. Some have the wherewithal to advertise and let people know they are remaining open in some manner, and some do not. Some have ways to make sure their personnel can work remotely, and some do not. Some have loyal employees who like their jobs and understand everyone has to give a little in order to get through a tough time, and some do not.

Yes, the virus is serious and we need to protect one another’s health. There is no doubt about that. But as a community, we need to stick together, and that comes in a lot of ways.

If you need something and can’t get out, is there a friend, a church buddy or a family member to help so you don’t have to go? The Algona chamber is trying to make a list of people who will do those kinds of kind things. Call them.

Lots of people are going to face difficult times in the coming weeks, so if you can give to the food pantry or C.A.R.E. Team or some other similar organization, please do it.

While it is easy for you to click and buy something online for delivery, consider calling our local businesses during this critical time and giving them a shot. I bet a lot of them would deliver that item you need if you call. Don’t just bypass these firms run by your friends and neighbors.

In the movie “Apollo 13,” when the crew is at the most dangerous point of its return, a NASA director says, “This could be the worst disaster NASA’s ever experienced.” Gene Kranz, the mission flight director, piped up and said, “With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.”

Kossuth County, let’s put fear aside and make these next few weeks our finest hours.

Reach Brad Hicks at publisher@algona.com.

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