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Virus casts uncertainty over country

At his news conference Wednesday, President Donald Trump sought to allay fears regarding the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, at least about its ultimate impact on the United States.

He indicated that this country is mobilizing its massive health-defense resources against what people across the world, rightly or wrongly, already are characterizing as the start of a pandemic.

At the same time, politics has crept into this deadly health scenario, and that is despicable.

This country is not responsible for how quickly the deadly illness has spread in the world. However, America ultimately can be the key player in deciding how quickly the current situation is controlled. Coronavirus-based political bickering will accomplish nothing, in terms of the scary big picture.

Meanwhile, America’s economy — as well as the world economy — is facing deep uncertainty, even as the president claims that the United States is “very, very ready” for anything that the virus attempts to inflict here.

During the past week, the American Stock Exchange hasn’t been “buying” any downplaying of the illness. Headlines in the Wall Street Journal have depicted accurately the mood and fears haunting the markets and investors.

Examples of those headlines were “Investors pile into havens as stocks tank,” “Virus fears bruise world stocks” and “U.S. virus warning rocks markets.”

But among the dire news reports emanating from many fronts was the report that a virus vaccine was heading for testing, although the downside of that is that a vaccine deemed safe for widespread use might not be ready for perhaps a year or 18 months.

By that time, if the illness isn’t contained, this “Grim Reaper” might already have exacted a heavy death toll, especially in nations ill-equipped for dealing with such a health crisis.

Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump has put in charge of coordinating the U.S. response to the coronavirus — designated as COVID-19 — has a behemoth task ahead of him. Amid that responsibility, it is important for him to make regular, frank reports — about the good and the bad — to not only the president, but to the American people as well.

At this time, it is important to acknowledge that the coronavirus is wreaking havoc not only on the stock markets of the world and, thus, the economy of nations.

Closer to home — including in the Southern Alleghenies region — businesses that depend on having customers on their premises are understandably fearing the future, even though the illness hasn’t arrived here. In addition to hospitals and other medical facilities, schools and colleges need to be ramping up potential defensive actions.

The need for precautions extends well beyond cruise ships, airlines, buses and trains.

Preparation and precautions must begin within homes and families now, even though the illness isn’t rampant in this country. The best precautions against colds, flu viruses and other common maladies at this time of the year will be helpful in trying to construct a shield against COVID-19.

Build those necessary preparations upon the foundation of common sense, one simple means of protection being keeping one’s hands clean. It is especially important for children to be enouraged to do so.

Hopefully the president is right in his belief that America is “very, very ready.” But the only truly realistic conclusion possible now is that America, like the rest of the world, is mired in colossal uncertainty.

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