Life (still) interrupted
Last weekend was supposed to be the first weekend of the 51st New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The second weekend of Jazz Fest was supposed to begin Thursday and run through Sunday.
This Monday is supposed to be the 50th anniversary commemoration of the shooting at Kent State University, which cost Sandy Scheurer, William Schroeder, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause their lives, and forever changed the life of an 18 1/2-year old West Virginia native named Nicholas Lou Saban, who was then wrapping up his freshman year at the Ohio school.
Major League Baseball should be entering its second month. The National Basketball Association and National Hockey League playoffs should be in full gear. National Football League draft choices and undrafted free agnets should be preparing for orientation and mini-camp this weekend.
It’s just after 13:00 on Tuesday, which means I should be wrapping up another week of writing for all the Main Street Media newspapers which are my responsibility.
I have an appointment at 14:00 with Crista, which means I should be leaving RIGHT now and heading for Hays. See you later!
Not so fast.
I have my appointment with Crista, but that will be done via Zoom. That means I’ll be sitting at my desk in Russell.
All the rest? Not happening.
Thank you, COVID-19.
General William Tecumseh Sherman, who led the Union Army as it burned Atlanta, said “war is hell”. I doubt he, nor any other Civil War soldier, Union or Confederate, could imagine a disease such as COVID-19 bringing the world to its knees.
Among Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first words as President of the United States were “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I’m guessing FDR would much rather have battled the Great Depression of the 1930s than the Great Depression which could be coming if this country stays on lockdown much longer.
George W. Bush probably thinks the War on Terror was a far easier opponent. Bill Clinton will take the Whitewater and Lewinsky scandals any day over this.
There’s just no way to know what the new normal post-COVID-19 will be.
After September 11, 2001, it was increased security. Then again, Al-Qaeda, no matter how deeply buried in caves in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was far easier to combat than a virus which seems to be immune to the ways of combating other viruses.
I did the math. If an average seat width in a college or professional sports facility is 18 inches, it will require FIVE empty seats between patrons to maintain six feet (72 inches) social distancing. Not only that, but rows will have to be skipped.
I don’t see any way that happens, since it would force massive stadium renovations and cost teams millions in revenue.
Therefore, the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA and all other leagues are going to have to introduce indemnity clauses stating they cannot be held responsible if patrons become ill from attending an event, the same way MLB tickets carry a disclaimer about foul balls and bats possibly flying into the stands.
Kauffman Stadium, home to the Royals, would go from about 38,000 capacity to less than 14,000. Arrowhead Stadium, across the parking lot, would go from 76,000 to 24,000.
The Bundesliga, German’s top football league, is going to have a serious problem, since all of its top stadia, including those in Berlin, Dortmund, Leipzig and Munich, have massive standing areas, and you can be sure people are not six inches apart, much less six feet.
I don’t mind wearing a mask in public. I was more vigilant about doing it last week than before. However, keeping things locked down is not the answer. We’re going to have to face COVID-19 head on sooner or later. People are going to die. It’s sad, but it has to happen if we’re to avoid a repeat of 90 years ago.
It has just been reported the United States now has more than a million diagnosed cases of COVID-19. Deaths have surpassed the more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives during the Vietnam War.
Louisiana’s death toll is at 1,758, inching closer to the 1,836 who died during Hurricane Katrina, and more than three times the number of deaths during Hurricane Audrey in 1957. Nearly 28,000 cases have been diagnosed in my native state, with at least one in each of the 64 parishes (counties).
Russell County still does not have a case, but there have been 19 in three bordering counties (Barton 9, Ellis 8 and Osborne 2). There has been a huge spike in the three largest counties in southwest Kansas: 544 in Ford (Dodge City), 422 in Seward (Liberal) and 175 in Finney (Garden City). More than 1,000 of the Sunflower State’s 3,500 are in Johnson and Wyandotte, the two counties which are part of the Kansas City metro.
Asking for life to go back to some semblance of normal before Father’s Day is asking too much. Maybe by Labor Day. If it doesn’t by my 44th birthday, 45 isn’t looking so good.