March 18th, 2020 By: Chad Young
KSST applauds our civic leaders for the unprecedented move to place restrictions on “social gatherings” inside Hopkins County. The tough decision rested on our County Judge, Robert Newsom, who issued the declaration on March 18th, limiting social gatherings to 10. Newsom, as the most senior official in our county, issued the declaration after consulting with city, county, state and emergency management officials. There is no doubt that it was an agonizing decision for all of those officials involved, but will prove to be the best decision to protect the health of all of our citizens. As the declaration, in it’s original form, lasts only a week it most certainly will be extended as more information comes in, day by day.
So much is not known about Coronavirus (COVID-19), but the information that is known is very scary. As I write this, the Italian government, confirmed over 4,200 new cases and 475 new deaths linked to this virus in the last 24 hours. The small country of Italy, which is half the land area of Texas, has only 60 million population, which is less than one-fifth the population of the United States. Also in the last 24 hours, the United States added over 2,400 new confirmed cases and 41 new deaths. The unfortunate news is that we are several weeks behind Italy in testing availablity, and community spread. All of these numbers are certain to go up, and as we see the rest of our state, nation, and the entire world screeching to a halt, we would be naive to think that it won’t happen here.
So, painful as it may be, and certainly with an abundance of caution, our civic leaders make the tough decision to limit people getting together. Several hours after they do, Dallas County mandates the same limits on social gatherings. If we follow their example or they follow ours, it is only smart for us to put the health of our citizens above all else. Yes, the economic impact will be devastating, in fact it already has been. Grocery stores are selling out of all essential products as fast as they can stock them, but other retailers and restaurants are feeling the pain of our citizens already limiting their activities in public. Hopefully this will all end sooner rather than later, but no matter how long it takes, our community has to band together in different ways. We must find new ways to support our small businesses, to help them weather the storm. If you can order delivery or curbside pick-up from your favorite restaurant, we encourage you to do so, and we encourage you to find any way to support the other small businesses that are the backbone of our community. Whether clothing stores, flower shops, or other small retailers, they all need help. We all need to do what we can to help in this trying time, for this step and the next one, whatever it may be.
This big step imposed by our civic and county leaders is not only what everyone else in the world is coming to realize is what’s best for their communities, it’s what’s best for OUR community.