For what it's worth, the democratic race for the U.S. presidential nomination is all but over. Unfortunately, its spot on the local news has been taken, and then some, by an unknown, deadly virus.


With this unseen enemy now known as coronavirus running rampant on every continent except Antarctica, this obscure killer, medically known as COVID-19, has been declared a pandemic by the WHO (World Health Organization).


As such, it has declared war on humanity.


Nevertheless, with daily news reports and endless hourly updates telling all of us how to protect ourselves, what to watch for and to remain in our homes until the worst has passed, there are still some poor souls wandering about outside in non-emergency errands running the risk of either becoming contaminated themselves or acting as an agent in helping to spread this deadly virus among others.


This column is not intended to scare or to cause a panic. It's based on facts of which you should be aware. And because of its gravity, it is nothing to ignore. As the president finally came around to admitting, “This is a bad one. A bad one.” And, as you might suspect, it is highly contagious.


Recently, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine closed all schools for three weeks. Don't be surprised if he extends the deadline. Churches, businesses, restaurants, delicatessens, taverns, beauty and barber shops, anyplace where people congregate, have also closed, many voluntarily, as doing their good citizenship part in the state of emergency the governor recently declared. Even waiting in line to renew either your driver's license or your automobile tags is a no-no. “Stay home,” we are told. “To prevent mingling with others, renew it online.” To do differently could bring about an illness you wouldn't wish on anyone.


There's no vaccine, there's no cure and once you're transported to a medical facility to help stop the spread of this deadly virus, there's very little relief. It attacks the respiratory system mostly. Senior citizens, age 60 and older, and those with an weakened immune system who are more likely to be infected by this virus, are the most susceptible. It's within this age group where most have died.


Every day the number of cases and deaths climb by leaps and bounds. At one point, China led the world in documented cases of coronavirus and deaths. Now, as it spreads across the landscape from one country to another and even across oceans, other nations have threatened to overtake China.


So much so that just a few days ago it was announced that Italy closed its borders to all as it overtook China and became the world's infamous leader. For all intents and purposes, Vatican City has shut down. Pope Francis canceled many of the church services during this Lenten season, hoping to discourage crowds of the faithful and others from gathering in groups in St. Peter's Square.


Here in America, every state in the union has been afflicted by the coronavirus. Unfortunately, like the vaccine we get annually for the seasonal flu, there is nothing doctors can do to either alleviate its painful affects or to prevent them. Hopefully, that day will arrive faster than we've been led to believe.


Hospitals, filled with patients afflicted by the disease, are to the point they can take no more, and are becoming increasingly stressed. Without emergency aid, the U.S. Hospitals as a whole warn of a medical crises. Beside the states of Washington and California, New York has also been hit hard. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked the federal government to set up four hospital tents in New York City alone to assist in handling the expected overflow, explaining that between 40 and 80 percent of NYC residents will become infected by the coronavirus.


While the WHO says it takes approximately five to 12 days from infection to when symptoms first appear, the U.S. CDC (Center for Disease Control) differs with two to 14 days, respectively.


The first symptoms occur in the upper respiratory tract, which includes the nose, mouth, larynx and bronchi. Those symptoms often include headaches, rising temperatures, dry coughs from in back of the throat and shortness of breath.


To lessen the coronavirus from spreading, the CDC recommends that people should stand no closer than six feet from each other, wear a face mask and/or cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. With disinfectant, they should keep all surfaces clean that are touched by others and wash their hands frequently with hot, soapy water, rinse them well and dry them with paper towels, discarding the used towels afterward.


As of Tuesday, the confirmed worldwide cases stand at more than 415,000 with the global death toll count at more than 18,000. In the U.S. the number of cases are more than 50,000 with the death count standing at more than 600.


The enemy is unseen by the naked eye. It is microscopic. This is definitely a war. One we can easily lose if each of us don't do our part by following what the medical professionals tell us to do. Some, who are projecting it to last until the middle of July or early August, are calling it World War III. From what I've seen and read, it could very well be.


In a situation such as what you and I are facing today, we can only prepare for the worst by staying home, washing our hands frequently, and, if we must go out, wearing a face mask and staying at least six feet from others to help stop the spread of this deadly virus and, most importantly, to save lives.


Then hope and pray for the best.


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