Virus is once-in-a-lifetime event for most in Wyoming


These are the times that try men’s souls is a lament from an early American patriot. And: May you live in interesting times is an ancient Chinese lament.

It is oh-so-true that we have never seen times like these coronavirus times. A worldwide panic has set in as something called the coronavirus has wreaked havoc around the world.

And Wyoming appeared to be luckily lagging behind the rest of the world but then first reports of infected people starting popping up, first in Sheridan. Rumors of folks being infected were al over social media.

To see the state basketball tournaments canceled was just awful. Then you saw the March Madness canceled on the collegiate level. And the pro NBA started it all by canceling its season.

I wrote a column last week speculating that this might be the world’s biggest over-reaction. I can now eat those words. This thing is real and we all better hunker down and prepare for the worst.

Coincidentally, the state legislature has just wrapped up its budget session. Its members must feel like victims of a drive-by shooting. The entire world changed. The stock market crashed, crushing the state’s ability to generate revenue from its investments. Oil prices tanked thanks to a price war between the Russians and the Saudis. The whole world changed over a 72-hour period.

It appears inevitable that the Legislature will be convening sometime after the April CREG income report comes through. They may meet in some kind of virtual fashion.

Wyoming’s schools are now closed. Just about every event from the State Basketball Tournament to a local Rotary Club meeting has been canceled.

Literally, thousands of small business people are scrambling, as they try to figure out a way to stay open, serve customers, and keep their workers busy.

In my hometown of Lander, the state’s second presumptive case of Coronavirus was named. A 68-year-old wheelchair-bound man is in the Lander hospital being treated. He is a stroke victim and had been hospitalized for two weeks back in December for pneumonia, which is typical of the type of people expected to suffer the most from this disease.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, an epidemiologist for the Wyoming Department of Health said the man had not traveled, meaning someone else may have exposed him.

The victim is from Riverton but had been a resident of the Showboat Retirement Center in Lander for some time. That center has about 27 residents right now.

Showboat owner Ron Foote said that this is a terrible season for colds and ailments. He said two of his key employees were down with an ear infection and a bad cold.

Even as I write this on Sunday evening, the Wyoming coronavirus story and the world story is changing rapidly.

If this pandemic goes poorly, it could cost Donald Trump reelection to president. His main pandemic spokesman said on Meet The Press Sunday morning that worst case could see a million deaths. How could that be?

Another media pundit pointed out that Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders all fit the profile of the folks who would get sickest from this bug. What would happen if all three got sick, she asked on CNN Sunday afternoon?

Because of our age and health issues, my wife Nancy and I are maintaining a self-quarantine in our home. Sure seems odd to be “in jail,” but then again, the alternative could be so much worse.

Incredible that there are no church services, even.

I am just repeating some questions here. Because this disease is so mysterious, there are more questions than answers. It supposedly does better in a cold environment instead of heat? How can that be? China hints there is a second strain out there. Why is Italy being hit so hard?

Wyoming can count on a minimum of 60 more days of cold weather plus some of the biggest snowstorms of the year. You would think this would keep the outbreak of this nasty bug to a limited extent.

Let’s hope so and maybe we can weather this amazing event.

I have lived on this planet for seven decades and have truly never seen anything like this. It is unprecedented. You can’t make this up. It sounds like a science fiction movie. And we do not know what the ending will be. Let’s hope it is a happy one.

In the meantime, folks, practice good habits and stay healthy.

Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books. His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find more stories by Bill Sniffin by going to CowboyStateDaily.com.

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