New Coronavirus Changing Way Of Life For Now
As the weekend progressed, federal and state officials across the country began making hard decisions regarding ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, a new virus that is highly contagious and especially dangerous to people over the age of 60 and those with underlying health problems.
Sunday evening, Montana Governor Steve Bullock ordered the shuttering of all K-12 schools in the state for a period of two weeks, causing schools to scramble to make alternative plans for learning for their students.
Hospitals, clinics and nursing homes across the state have restricted visitation and have issued new guidelines for those seeking medical attention.
Events across the country have been canceled or postponed. Recommendations include limiting gatherings to 10 people or less.
County health departments and other health professionals have stressed the importance of hand-washing and “social distancing” as a way to “flatten the curve,” the current belief of many as to the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that it does not overwhelm our healthcare system’s capacity.
Businesses and offices were contemplating what level of changes they would make, from reduced hours to closed-to-the-public offices to additional cleaning and sanitizing to protect customers and employees alike. Those companies whose employees could work from home were encouraged to use that strategy.
Stores were faced with shortages due to panic buying across the U.S. and warehouses’ inability to replenish supplies due to the overwhelming demand.
While no one is able to predict exactly how long these changes in our nation’s everyday life will be in effect, currently that number is 15 days, though some have said the pandemic could extend into July or August.
The best quote out there regarding the situation and the preventative measures is, “We may never know if we over-reacted, but we will certainly know if we under-reacted and should have done more” — Unknown.
As of presstime Tuesday, March 17, there were nine people confirmed with COVID-19 in Montana. In the U.S., there have been 4,226 cases reported with 75 deaths since Jan. 21. Globally, those numbers have soared to 167,515 confirmed cases and 6,606 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
The Northern Plains Independent’s new website, www.northernplainsindependent.com, is now online and will be utilized to help keep the public informed of the latest news. Print subscribers can sign up for free online access and digital-only access is available as well.
See continued COVID-19related coverage elsewhere in this issue of the Northern Plains Independent.