EDITORIAL/Our health and safety is on the line


No one rallies more in time of need than Southerners, and the kind of fortitude and compassion Mississippians exhibited in the aftermath of Katrina will be needed — perhaps even more so — to conquer and endure in light of the the coronavirus crisis.

With anxiety on the rise worldwide, it's important we do not act out of fear, believe the science and follow the advice of our health professionals who are among the best in the world, which can be as simple as washing your hands and practicing social distancing.

People are buying three to five times what they need emptying shelves nationwide, President Trump said on Sunday. There is no problem with the food or supply chain, he said. Buy only what you need, have a good dinner and relax. The risk of death remains very low for most Americans.

The authorities are simply unsure about a lot of things because the coronavirus challenges are new and unprecedented, but after a few months, even the cases in China are decreasing, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. The U.S. got ahead of the pandemic more quickly than Europe and Asia, especially when President Trump in January blocked travel from China.

U.S. officials believe the aggressive containment and mitigation like social distancing and travel restrictions will suppress the virus in the U.S. and prevent a spike.

Coronavirus is not the flu, this is a pandemic because the virus has the ability to spread so rapidly and infect the most vulnerable, older adults with underlying major health issues. (Taking blood pressure medicine is not a higher risk.)

Widespread testing in the U.S. is on the way and being expedited, Vice President Mike Pence said on Sunday surrounded by leaders of the public health corps. To delay and flatten the curve and prevent the spike in cases is the aim, health officials said. They feel confident they can.

Why has Italy suffered seemingly more than other countries to date? Many Italians in Northern Italy have sold their leather goods and textiles companies to China. Italy then allowed 100,000 Chinese workers from Wuhan and Wenzhou to move to Italy to work in these factories, with direct flights between Wuhan and Northern Italy. And Iran? They're all up in China despite U.S. economic sanctions. The United States reinstated economic sanctions on Iran after President Trump abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018.

Our editorials can't prevent a run on toilet paper any more than a bank run or a bank robbery. But we can attest that the Lord is sovereign, eternal and unchangeable and remains on His throne in charge. Don't panic. He has foreordained everything that shall come to pass. Good is already arising out of this pandemic.

We have already learned that relying on China for pharmaceuticals is a very bad idea — after decades of a rush to globalism that has killed American jobs.

Listen to the authorities and health professionals. This is not an extended vacation with your kids for public outings. Be practical and responsible. The closing of schools and worshiping at home as Gov. Tate Reeves has urged is necessary.

We can point to our ancestors who survived world wars, plagues and other pandemics. In 1878, 13,000 people died from yellow fever in the lower Mississippi Valley.

As the authorities confront the virus, we are told this will eventually have a predictable end, unlike the factors that were a part of the financial crisis. There are worst-case scenarios that are chilling like running out of ICU beds and ventilators. Intercepting the virus by preventing cross-contamination is one of the top priorities now.

Conduct your life as normally as possible, practice socials distancing, take steps to strengthen your immune system and wash your hands.

Economic relief to the impacted — behind our health — is the highest priority for the government, including relief on Main Street that got left out last time.

Because the banking system remains strong, Congress needs to consider relief such as a grace period on small business loans and easier access to lines of credit. Dodd-Frank in the wake of the financial crisis wrecked lending on Main Street and it's time some of those oppressive regulations and practices are unwound.

The Federal Reserve on Sunday cut the benchmark interest rate to near 0% and said it would purchase more Treasury securities to spur lending.

To be sure, more Americans will likely go bankrupt than die from coronavirus without precise, deliberate action by Congress to take care of the country's small businesses behind the health priority.

This crisis could last for months as intervention suppresses the curve. Stay calm and act responsibly. This too shall pass with strong, steady leadership on every level. Employ best practices and common sense.

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