March 15, 2020

Reading the headlines this morning, I think of Thomas Paine’s opening sentence from The Crisis, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls.”  The world has changed rapidly since we last met. Before I get into the links and news of the day, let me say this:

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Find ways to reduce your stress. Breathe. Reach out. Tomorrow I’ll post some tips on how you can cope through this. It is going to get very, very difficult. Facebook, which used to be just populated with posts about cats, babies and the occasional political screaming match, will be full of posts about friends getting sick. I’ve already seen it on mine — one good friend is in a hospital in Florida with symptoms. Just remember this: Even though we are separated, we’re in this together. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I’ll include links at the bottom of this blog where you can reach out to me. And you can email me at mramsey@mississippitoday.org.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What are you doing to reduce stress? 

Back to the show.

NEWS & STUFF

Mississippi Today’s COVID-19 coverage can be found here.

More travel bans and lockdowns are being imposed across the globe.

The president was tested for COVID-19 and is negative. Airports are jammed (not exactly social distancing folks).

Mississippi and the U.S. are both now under state of emergencies — allowing funding to flow and laws to be bypassed if necessary. What does that mean? From the Mississippi Today story, “In the emergency declaration, (Governor Tate) Reeves also invoked an executive power that allows a governor to suspend any state law to respond to the emergency and ‘commandeer or utilize any private property if necessary to cope with a disaster.’”  Here’s a story from Newsweek explaining what a U.S. State of Emergency means.

One interesting tidbit from the Mississippi Today story is that Reeves and his family are in 14-day quarantine due to the fact they were in Spain, a place with a high number of COVID-19 cases (Spain and France have followed Italy into total lockdown).  I wish him and his family well.

The state is working hard to ramp up testing — which, of course, allows us to know where the disease is. Until we know for sure, assume it is in your community and take appropriate precautions. 

Bottom line: Here we go. (If you want to know how not to act, here’s a prime example)

Schools are out for at least two weeks across the state. (Here’s a list from the Mississippi Department of Education:) I say “at least” because this is a rapidly changing situation. Stay connected with your local district.

The governor recommended places of worship not meet.

Mississippi public universities are extending spring break and going online. 

Events have been cancelled.

More and more people are working at home.

I joked yesterday that 2020 will be the year we discover how much we really like our family.

But, this is important to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. Here’s a really good story from The Washington Post that models how the different types of social distancing work.  It’s eye-opening.

Working from home, if you’ve never done it before, is a liberating and frustrating experience. Here are a few tips I stole from my friend Emily Gatlin’s Instagram. Although not sourced (I source her), this list contains some good ideas.

Me? I will write out a complete plan for the day, email it to my boss and stick to it like glue. I’ll probably skip the daily happy hour.

I also asked how people are dealing with being at home. Many are finding ways to reconnect as a family, clean out closets, watch TV or just read a book. But what you shouldn’t do is treat it as a snow day. The whole point of our new reality is to stay away from groups of people. People showing no symptoms (but who are infected) may be driving the spread of the disease. So stay home every chance you can. And here are a couple of folks who are sharing their ideas about what they’re doing now that they are getting more family time:

That’s it for today. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your feet. Stay six-feet from people, if you can. And, don’t forget to breathe.

Link: Mississippi Today’s COVID-19 Stories

Remember the Question of the Day: What are you doing to reduce stress?

Email: mramsey@mississippitoday.com

On Twitter: MarshallRamsey

On Facebook: Marshall Ramsey Fanpagepalooza.

On Instagram: MarshallRamsey

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.