Some friendly advice to Alabama

Published 2:18 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By SETH HAGAN | Guest Columnist

Note: This is an opinion column.

Go ahead and believe it can’t get worse. Because it can.

Our lack of self-awareness is blatantly evident. Packed beaches. Thousands of customers packed into a Walmart, Costco, etc. Nobody is going to stop us from “living our life,” right?

How many industries have to shut down before we figure it out? Our favorite restaurants. Venues. Our churches. Our beaches.

Chain stores and eateries may go bankrupt and cease to exist before this is all over.

What’s next? The Olympics.

Despite Japan’s best efforts, the 51st Olympiad will be postponed to the summer of 2021 due to the spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent outcry from the athletic community.

This disease has already crushed the dreams of countless high school and college athletes across the country. Now it will delay the dreams of hundreds more in the U.S. and thousands across the globe.

Make no mistake about it, if the Olympics are on the proverbial chopping block then the NBA and MLB are staring directly down the barrel of COVID-19.

Indeed, if we as Americans don’t start taking this virus more seriously our most prized pastime, football, could be next.

If that doesn’t mobilize—or demobilize, in this case—Alabamians, frankly, nothing will.

There are some glimmers of hope out there. New infection cases in China, South Korea and Japan look to be on a steady decline, and they all took different routes to their results.

China is targeting mid-April for the return of their professional basketball league, but the remaining games will be played in one or two cities with no fans in attendance. Sounds thrilling.

China also took more draconian measures to combat the virus that we won’t replicate here and, unfortunately, any information China releases to the international community has to be studied with a significant dose of skepticism.

Still, Japan and South Korea’s aggressive approach has resulted in just 91 combined new cases on March 23. South Korea peaked at 851 new cases back on March 3 compared to only 64 three weeks later.

The news coming out of Italy seems to get worse every day with over 8,000 deaths, but it’s important to note that the rest of Europe has less than 7,000 combined.

America has crested 1,000 dead and is perhaps within a few weeks from seeing a peak in new cases, but our behavior and the role we play as citizens is crucial in flattening the curve of infection.

For a moment, it was a point of pride that Alabama was one of the last four states without anyone testing positive for the virus. Jokes were told. Good times were had. The memes were fantastic.

However, recently Alabama has had as many as the 24th most cases in the 50 states. Quite a jump from what seems like just a few days ago.

It speaks to the serious nature of this disease, but also to our unwillingness to change our routine for the common good, much less our own.

So we are faced with a choice: We can have a really bad, cabin fever-inducing two-month binge fest or we can stretch this thing out to 2021.Choose wisely.