[Read all of Mississippi Today’s coverage of the coronavirus in Mississippi.]

One of the first COVID-19 cancelations was the 2020 Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade. As painful as the decision was, it is good public health policy. If the spread of the virus isn’t slowed down, our hospitals will be overwhelmed with patients (see Italy.) That would mean that those who are most vulnerable (and need of ICU) won’t be able to be treated.  But the parade isn’t alone. Several other events have now been postponed or cancelled, like NBA games and SEC sports. Even Mississippi’s public universities have extended Spring Break and will teach online. Here at Mississippi Today, we’ve taken the step of cancelling our live events for the next three months. It’s out of caution — we don’t to put at risk those who are most vulnerable.

These are tough times. My heart goes out to everyone associated with the parade, which is one of Mississippi’s Crown Jewels. This was a tough but necessary decision.

Marshall Ramsey, a nationally recognized editorial cartoonist, shares his cartoons and travels the state as Mississippi Today’s Editor-At-Large. He’s also host of a weekly statewide radio program and a television program on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and is the author of several books. Marshall is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a 2019 recipient of the University of Tennessee Alumni Professional Achievement Award.