The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus – or the fear of it – has literally hit every aspect of our society, whether you live in Washington, D.C., Little Rock or Huntsville.

The World Health Organization last week called the COVID-19 coronavirus – which has spread to more than 100 countries – a global pandemic. The first positive case in Arkansas happened in Pine Bluff, then came the second, the third and so on.

The COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in China in December 2019.  

The virus has killed thousands worldwide, but not nearly as many as the common flu. The problem with the COVID-19 is that governments, health agencies and the everyday folk just don’t know much about it.

And remember, our own president just two weeks ago was telling people it wasn’t that serious of a threat. Well, Mr. President, what say you now? The virus and the fear associated with it has affected everything from commerce to governmental operations to public schools to athletics. Wall Street on Monday had its worst single-day drop in history.

Here in Huntsville it has affected the senior center, banking, shopping at our two grocery stores, the schools, and more.

On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in this country. On Monday he released guidelines for Americans during the pandemic. The guidelines say we should avoid gathering in group of more than 10, avoid travel if possible and to avoid bars and restaurants.

Social events, festivals and other gatherings have been postponed or canceled. Public schools in Arkansas have been suspended until at least March 30.

A lot of businesses are telling workers to stay home and do their jobs there. That’s fine, but not everybody can work from home. Think of the truck driver, the police officer, the firefighter, the custodian, the fast-food worker and so on.

Hell, I’m worried what The Record will put on our sports pages the next two weeks!

World leaders, professional athletes and award-winning actors have tested positive for the virus. Most people will be fine after a couple of week of self-quarantine. People in my age group, above 60, have the most to fear, especially if immune systems are compromised due to conditions such as diabetes.

Zachary B. Wolf wrote a piece for the CNN website last week.

“This is open society shutting down. The worldwide coronavirus pandemic undercuts the entire system on which modern society is based. It has already happened in Italy. It is happening in France. The effects, real and emotional, are slowly creeping into everyone’s everyday lives.”

The affects in Arkansas developed quickly last week. The sports world was rocked when the NCAA canceled post-season tournaments in all sports. Elsewhere, professional sports were put on hold, including Major League Baseball, which will delay the opening of the season.

Last Thursday night the Arkansas Activities Association said all AAA-sanctioned activities in the state were suspended until March 30. That includes athletic events, cheerleading, band, Quiz Bowl and more.

The Huntsville baseball team, parents and coaches worked hard during the football season when they operated a concession stand at Razorback Stadium at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Proceeds were going to be used to send the boys to Florida for a tournament over spring break. With all activities suspended until March 30, there won’t be a trip to Florida.

It was a maddening week, for sure.

• • •

In times of national or local emergencies, there are always a handful of people who step up to serve others.

We saw that immediately this week when schools were shuttered ahead of spring break. The Huntsville and Jasper school districts decided that children who needed food were not going to go hungry. Teachers, coaches, staff, administration and other folks immediately put in place a way to deliver food to students in our area. In addition, Granny’s Kitchen, Anderson’s Gas and Propane, and The Hindsville Cafe said they would help feed children in need for free.

It’s a pleasure to know these people and to watch them work.