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Tornadoes Give No Warning

March 25, 2020 - 00:00
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  • Tornadoes Give No Warning
    Billy Kahn

Today as I write this, it’s Friday, March 20th. You will not read this until Wednesday, March 25th or later. As we all know, a lot may have changed in those five short days. Things have already been changing rapidly these past few weeks in our town, our state, our country and our world as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. I’m struggling to write this, as what I write today may no longer be relevant by the time you read it.

Maybe that’s the message; that things change, and we all need to be flexible. We have to be fluid and have to roll with the punches. Today there are three people working in our office. We stopped shaking hands and hugging people about a week ago. We started increased handwashing and sanitizing earlier in the week. Yesterday we implemented a locked-door policy. We are greeting people at the door only, and answering their questions at the window. Starting Monday, we’ll begin a one

Starting Monday, we’ll begin a one-staff-per-day rotation. Only one of us will be here to answer people’s questions and to assist our Chamber members and the community to get through this. At the end of the workday, the person on duty will be wiping down and sanitizing all the surfaces, keyboards, doorknobs, etc.

But who knows? By the time you read this, everything may have changed, and we may have closed the office. In that case, we’ll each be working exclusively from our homes – self distancing, or possibly even self-quarantining – protecting our loved-ones from a rapid spread of the virus.

Today as I write this, there are still no confirmed cases in Colorado County. But who knows…? By the time you read this there may be dozens.

Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and part of the president’s coronavirus task force said the worst is ahead for us. He added, “It is how we respond to that challenge that’s going to determine what the ultimate end point is going to be.’’

Hopefully, people will HAVE responded by heeding the warnings of people like Dr. Fauci, as well as the president, the governor, the county judge, our local emergency management teams and our mayor. Maybe by the time you read this, we will have successfully decelerated the spread.

Some people are saying that social distancing, closing schools, canceling events, etc. is just too much and shouldn’t have had to happen.

Others are saying that, in the end, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it will be QUITE apparent if we under-reacted or did too little. That’s something to think about!

I sincerely hope there’s no widespread outbreak here in Columbus. I’d be delighted to stand up together with the mayor, the city and county emergency management team, the county judge and the governor and to say we were all wrong. That would be the best news ever. To me, that says we did something right.

We’ve done it before, folks. One thing that’s certain about the human race is that, through famine, war, earthquakes, plagues, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and even economic catastrophes, we’ve survived.

In these uncertain and troubling times, please embrace your loved ones, ride the waves and roll with the punches. We’re going to lose some people along the way, so tell all your loved ones now how much you love them. The rest of us will get thru this and we’ll emerge in a world that may or may not be as we know it today. Who knows?

In the meantime, be kind to one another. Stop spreading unverified rumors.

Nothing good is going to come from spreading rumors, blaming others or politicizing the pandemic.

The good news is that we have a real chance to beat this thing. It’s not like a tornado or an earthquake that give no warning. We’ve been given the warning.

I’ve heard some people say that so-and-so should have warned us sooner. Let’s leave that to the history books. Couldhaves, should-haves and would-haves will do us no good today.

Today let’s all do the right thing. Our grandparents were all called off to war. I’m sure you’ve heard this already. We’re simply being asked to stay home for a few weeks.

So, while doing that, let’s go for walks, take some deep breaths, enjoy nature and embrace the good things. Accentuate the positive. Tell people we love them. And let’s all wash keep washing our hands.

Billy Kahn

Executive Director Columbus Chamber of Commerce